City of Departures

When I stepped out of the house the air held rain, the scent of it, the taste. The light was bruised and yellowish. A blackbird was singing, very clearly, his song amplified by the coming rain. The scene felt familiar, already lived-through. The caption was Morning in the city of departures. I was walking through narrow streets close to the docks, under the piers of bridges, through brick archways. The cobblestones were wet and I had on no shoes. There had been a railway accident, journeys were disrupted or rendered impossible. You didn’t appear and yet you were present, if only in the feeling of missed connections. You were there in the sense of having spoken a vital word to me and then gone away, leaving me wandering the wet quaysides holding the word I couldn’t use, a bright coin in the wrong currency.

From City of Departures. Reproduced with kind permission of Carcanet.

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