Today’s poem is from Anne-Marie Fyfe’s latest collection, House of Small Absences, due for release this month.
Anne-Marie Fyfe’s poems have long dwelt on the role that the spaces we inhabit, the places in which we find security, play in our lives: House of Small Absences is an observation window into strange, unsettling spaces—a deserted stage-set, our own personalised ‘museum’, a Piedmont albergo, underground cities, Midtown roof-gardens, convent orchards, houseboats, a foldaway circus, a Romanian sleeper-carriage—the familiar rendered uncanny through the distorting lenses of distance and life’s exigencies, its inevitable lettings-go…
‘Nowhere’ is a setting, a situation and a state of mind.
It’s not on any map, but you know it when you’re there.
– Don George, Tales from Nowhere
When you turn your back on the street
and walk away one block, then two,
the over-familiar street-view’s exposed
as propped-up storefronts and verandahs,
sceneries of wings and facades
that could shudder and collapse
in the whish of the tenderest summer breeze.
The scene’s drained first of Technicolor
and then slips slowly out of focus,
passers-by strutting staccato
into the maze of tram-line junctions
that never make it into town’s gazetteer.
Each new city block takes you further
from the grip of a reality that’s already
packing-up shop behind you, shipping
for storage or the next production.
You’d do best to maintain a brisk walking pace.