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Poem of the week: Smog by David Tait


An increasingly anxious speaker is pained by both systemic homophobia and pollution in the air, in this breathless poem by a Lancastrian living in China

Smog by David Tait

I don’t have long to write
so let me tell you that today’s smog
is so thick that I’ve sat inside
with a headache, wearing a face-mask
next to an air purifier, that the recorded figures
are double the hazardous limit, that these measurements
are probably a generous estimate, that I’m sitting
within my dubious force-field with leaking eyes,
that outside there are mechanics and window cleaners
and school kids and flower-sellers with lungs
like the bottoms of an hour glass,
that they are breathing and coughing
and dying too soon, that I love a man
but they won’t let him in, that it kills me,
that it’s killing me.

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