Sunday, 24 December 2023 08:58

should an agency cleaner in the basement

Written by
in Poetry
should an agency cleaner in the basement
courtesy the artist

should an agency cleaner in the basement

of the British Museum find
in some forgotten room
an old earthenware lamp

and choose to rub it,
rub it with the sleeve of
her overall, gentle

and curious, knowing this
is not strictly within the T&Cs
of her employment, but

should she do that
and lo! a djinn appear,
stir itself to life and ask

Yeah? What?
and should she, thinking of
her neighbours in the flat

next door, the sobbing heard
through a shared and common wall
whisper Gaza. Peace

and should the djinn nod,
fade, vanish, the lamp
a dusty artefact and

she alone with the dead
hours of the night, miles
to tread before she sleeps

should she finish her shift,
wait, half-awake, for the 6am
bus that will carry her home

to newsrooms, airwaves, screens
in meltdown, jabbering the endless
Who? How? Why?

should a prime minister’s son
cower in hospital scrubs
in the ruins of Al-Shifa

a diplomat and her family
flee down Salah-al-Din Road,
searching for safety and water

should, in Khan Younis,
a pundit with a white flag
stumble into the sights

of a sniper, the president’s
mistress beneath the rubble
of a building, buried alive

should all this come to pass
there will be ceasefire before
the cleaner turns the key

in her front door,
trucks of aid in their hundreds
before the sun has set.

Tomorrow, we will begin to rebuild.

Read 651 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 December 2023 09:58
Steve Pottinger

Steve Pottinger is a performance poet who's passionate about the power of poetry to create connections between people. He believes in making an audience laugh and think and decide that poetry isn't so bad after all.