“The city rubs its people off”
For though I gave him no embrace—
Remembering my duty—
He altered the expression of my face,
And gave me back my beauty.
—Anna Wickham, “The Fired Pot”
The city rubs its people off,
beginning at their edges,
then moving to the center of
Attaché cases swing along
without left hands, or right.
A scream can sound, as can a song,
with nobody in sight.
The news still happens at a trot,
the traffic at a trudge,
and I who stand still at this spot
is turning to a smudge
until a man, fresh to the town,
with eyes a piercing blue,
stares at me from crotch to crown,
and draws me new.