These are streets where you could meet the dead
or those you saw as dead. Faces flash
through your thoughts, loved,
misplaced from sight or memory,
their silver eyes opaque, preoccupied,
brushing you with their indifference.
You will never touch. A flock of bright Trabants
wheels past and there are no more eyes.
It is a long way. The way has been long.
You stumble at the gates
whose flags and guards breathe out the West,
neuter power, empty commerce, not revolt or joy.
Darkness is fading to a new dawn
or a pale misunderstanding.
But in the U-bahn
the unexpected cathedral is pillared
with sound and light,
the accordionist transfiguring the end of night.
Again the dead and lost
are watching, walking; toss their coins
and move into the flow. They are still among us.
Amidst memory’s field of black pillars
still the long shadow of intent, conquest.
The silver eyes of the dead will not let us forget.
~ Clarissa Aykroyd
Clarissa Aykroyd grew up in Victoria, Canada and now lives in London, England. Her work has appeared in Shot Glass Journal, And Other Poems and Ink Sweat & Tears, and in anthologies. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee. You can read her blog about poetry and poets at http://thestoneandthestar.blogspot.co.uk/