LONDON

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

I find London throwing tennis balls
against the walls of my bank account
when overdrawn and, in despair,
I find it again in the coin London plucks
from behind my ear. Once, I dropped London
in the sea. The dolphins own it now.
At home, I find it down the sofa
and under the bed, cramped in the drawers
or thumping into the saucepan
like a slick dead rat in a can of beans.
London runs down my beer bottle
like a bead of condensation
and makes a helipad halo on the patio
which now I come to think of it
is exactly the same shade as London.
London is lost in each Hello I write.
It buzzes, jammed in the grate
of my speakers. It rots on the bottom
of my shoe. London is a slug
gone crispy in the heat, still seen
as missing in the eyes of his family.
London schemes in a ventricle of my heart,
forms a clot in my veins and calls it congestion,
then snowballs up to my brain
until I find it everywhere — London
in my fridge and tobacco and teeth and noodles
and it starts to own me.
London in my bed and its print
of anyone who has slept there,
London under my fingernails
and skin and careless step as I make it
to the hospital, my brain about to burst.
I make it indoors when London calls me,
London texts, London likes me
and messages me privately.
London tells me it misses me
when I dare think of anyone else.
London and I have some stuff to work through.
London creeps into my emails, saying
Come home to yourself and other things
London would never say. London liked me
and I liked London and now I cannot own
the things I like. London smiles
like it never used to in my piggy bank.
London is so possessive it leeches me like rent.
I am so possessive I laugh like a Big Dog sign.
London diagnoses me online and I’m fine.
London is in my heart and underwear and spare time,
turning me round, steering me home. Then my life
is behind me, and I speak in the past tense.
London was never a good driver; it could never
get used to it, a world inside itself.
London lived a good life. Every time it held
your hand it felt like something was hurting.

Featured image © Vladimir Zakharov

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