without you in it the city feels
tender, infected, fever
hot around a smarting contusion you lodged
yourself in when it ran a windy finger
thru your hair

i tug splinters out of my fingertips
little irritating remnants of you
between whorls & ridges, hills
& traintracks & inner west terraces

the Cross itches around a reddened gap
you sliced thru it with rusty smile
i scratch at walls & floors & bars & theatres
flakes of scab & concrete building under nail
find something fresh of you
in Darlinghurst’s sluggish brown blood

in Surry Hills the rain bursts pipes
& the stormwater drains weep for you
i go splashing thru Sydney’s sticky teartracks
dirty makeup glugs downhill to Redfern

this city cut its cheek on your eyelashes
bruised its gums on your smirking teeth
singed its nosehairs on your smoking tongue
scraped its bony knees running after you

you’re a papercut on my home, a
cigarette burn, a blood blister, a blackhead,
mosquito bite, cold sore, ulcer,
puss & gunk filled aberration
& i’m picking scabs & tearing at skin
to find the raw
to keep the infection
a little longer–