The thing with Dutch eyes

and a Nippon name breathes 

through metal tubes, 

soot spraying its collarbones and 

lips folding like old raisins. 

Its fingers stretch

into skyscrapers

but around it the sewers spill,

nipping ankles with green water.


The thing with bronze skin 

and yellow hands  

feels tremors 

every now and then  

and coughs up rivers of petrol.  

Through the years it has learned silence; 

its body heaves with sound 

but its mouth is a sea wall 

and the noises shatter inside. 


During the longer days, 

the city dreams of sinking.   


Home becomes a rough and painted thing. 

Home becomes the headlines 

that like sandpaper 

scratches out its name to 

‘sinking city’,

‘most polluted city’.  

Home becomes the eggshell setting over

potholes, the coat of white on every roadside

as the city tries to start again.