The Cut of those Cold, Sharp Stars
by Emma Lee
I don't think it's to do with temperature.
I feel every piece of grit, every puddle, the cold.
There won't be a bus for another hour.
I'm used to the cold. Used to shiver like a child,
but now I don't even dream of being warm.
It's that dead hour before the supermarkets cut
food prices and suddenly shoppers will swarm
hoping for something easy, filling and hot
for dinner. No use getting fresh veg: it needs
time to cook and feeding the meter for a pound's
worth of telly feels better than feeding it for a pound's
worth of stew. You need to sit here to understand.
We're not in London, we're not in Europe.
We're the living hand to mouth, scraping together
what we can today. Give us enough rope...
When tomorrow won't be any better,
there's no point thinking about it. Just ignore
those who ignore us. Trouble is, they're the
the people who make the rules, who take our
money from us. Can't afford the cafe, the
pub's gone, the library's shut. It can't get
worse. It's just getting by. I'll go home bereft.
That's how it feels. Like we have to forget.
Originally published in London Grip.
Emma Lee’s publications include “The Significance of a Dress” (Arachne, 2020) and "Ghosts in the Desert" (IDP, 2015). She co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea,” (Five Leaves, 2015), was Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, and reviews for magazines and blogs.