A grey day, bone-cold. In black coats,
red scarves, we snuffle and shift
on a pavement in suburban North London –
some brown, most white, some young,
the rest of us grizzled and lined,
a pack of aging hounds, scenting,
at last, that wild creature: hope.
As light drains from the sky
we embark on the hunt, fan out
through a tired council estate,
rattle gates, ring bells, knock on doors,
meet Jane, who ‘isn’t political’;
Rajiv, who has views, but is
‘not able to discuss them’;
Dawn, who wants to know why
she’s worked hard all her life
and doesn’t have any money;
the Singhs, who, yes please,
take a leaflet and poster;
Hamid, who asks ‘how many
MPs do I have?’, and doesn’t know
the one he has is the Prime Minister.
The sky spits in my face, but refrains
from sleeting contempt.
Are we hot on the tail of history,
or drag hunting fake stink?
High above, a red kite, fork-tailed,
surveys the cul-de-sac
for kitchen scrapings,
rats, mice and voles.
for Ali Milani
whose day will come