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The Independent Online

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.