Io ero tra color che son sospesi
By Jamie McKendrick
Hanging on the hours like heliotropes
we have taken root where we set foot;
the sun favours our recreations
and salt in the seawind glazes us over
with a tan, a patina, taken for health.
We greet each other with averted eyes
and shipwrecked smiles. Otherwise
indulge in the stern vice of vivisection
and self-portraiture: exiles who left
for no reason with no reason to return.
Jamie McKendrick was born in Liverpool and educated in York and Liverpool and at the Universities of Nottingham and Oxford. He has taught in the UK and in Italy; at the University of Salerno, and now lives and works in Oxford. His acclaimed first collection The Sirocco Room is also published by Oxford University Press. This poem appears in The Kiosk on the Brink (OUP) at pounds 6.99.