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First, you write how heat
is like another body on your back:
you’re losing years each day by way of minerals.
They teach you to drink Coke with salt in
for the sweating.
                            Certain things turn out the same –
there’s always someone on the hunt for something new
to say about the moon, and everyone keeps chickens,
but you can’t get butter, never mind a European paper,
and the language is a minefield.
                                                           Sixteen nouns
to hold the shapes explosion makes of civic space:
all derivates of ancient artists’ names. An Institute
which manages the rhetoric of pain. Its scholars
are exempt from service but dear god,
they’re thin. To reach its top floor you must climb
from brute hurt, through the drab, split-
levelled middle-management of trauma,
to the triple-glazed panopticon where dons
plot points of suffering so fine they’re whistled
through closed lips. To hear that language
is to lean so closely in, a man might kiss
or cut your throat.
                                  You find no word for coast,
for all that you smell salt at nightfall. And
you’ve lost your ID in a skirmish at the archives
so you’ll have to trek inland. The letter
handed round for nineteen days says, underlined,
how [untranslatable] you miss the bloody seagulls,
strutting round sans papiers. And starling-storms,
above the pier in safe, safe Aberystwyth.