Pictures at an Exhibition


Reports come in of a ripped city and a painted sigh, a pained sky, a tainted cup passed from lip to lip as ships pile up until they block out the sun. Reports come in of a running child trailing grey rags, stray flags, flayed skin streaming like a river, or a ribbon, or a roll of dirty bandage unwinding from a wound. Reports come in of trembling foundations, troubling privations, tumbling divides of dry skin and sinew slit from faces that look just like yours or mine but which could not be identified beneath ash and brick dust. We have learned not to trust the evidence of gouged eyes. We have learned to be sceptical of split tongues. We have learned to ignore the broken hand that tugs at our sleeve and gestures towards towns torn from picture books and erased by fire. It’s time to leave but reports come in that we’re trapped in a burning house, in a city we’ve never heard of, and in all this time we’ve learned nothing but smoke



Oz Hardwick
Picture Nick Victor

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