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Window Displays

Bristol City Poet
Caleb Parkin

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This poem was commissioned to be read at the Mayor's State of the City Address, 2020.

In January, we went window-shopping for the year
we imagined: peered in at February’s deepening greys.
Next door, the lights in March flickered, view obscured:

before April’s rainbows flattened onto windowpanes
and, by May, families huddled into phone screens.
New TV channels streamed eulogies, looped bad news.
June displayed school: a mosaic of faces, or a dream.
Some kneaded dough: others raised fists, razed statues.

In sparse parks, high summer burned with uncertainty
while clouds of paper masks whispered lists of names –
blue butterflies, listless over To Let signs across the city.

Now, this plexiglass autumn: our smiles are contained
behind layers of paper, or fabric, or doubt. Now our feet
take new steps, together on this calendar’s empty street.

Header photo: Caleb Parkin (Paul Samuel White).

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