Here one learns a new vocabulary,
tinwash, tray off, mopcap
swiping in and stacking down.
Some of us arrived for a month
one spring and stayed forever
like jaded nomads finding pasture,
needs met, horizons ending here.
In old ghost-infested rooms
the newcomer gets lost; disoriented
by the sprawling tangle and pulse
of peculiar machinery
whose failings have produced
a grim, resilient folklore –
and we endure its unexpected power
to mess with natural instincts
until finally we grow indifferent
while paying lip service
to the gods of health and safety.
John Short was born in Liverpool and studied comparative religion at Leeds University. He spent years living around Europe and can’t wait to escape again. Stories and poems most recently accepted by Prole, South Bank Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, Frogmore Papers, The French Literary Review, Under the Fable and Orbis. He reads poetry on Vintage Radio in Birkenhead and at Dead Good Poets in Liverpool.