The face! just like your mother’s, or
was it the hair, the voice,
the clothes – and you are
thousands of miles and decades ago.
Following a stranger
with hooded eyes. Lost.

Then a car horn, someone speaks,
and you are back again, answering
in the wrong language,
clearing throat to unstick words.
What are the names for these things?
The crowd is nothing else. I am fine,
just lost
in thought.
The kerb presses through your shoe-sole.


We are a long way from the mountains.
You understand? God can’t see
through smog.

Write home when you can.


Easy to end here.
They would rifle through your pockets,
find the plastic rectangle
that names you.
They would call the numbers
on your phone and reach no one.
Take you away, find
another foreigner
who learns – too late –
that in this unfamiliar language
there is no true word for home.

You had an uncle
who moved there.
No one’s heard from him in years.
I forget his name.