I have only ever known you out of context
clinging to walls, fragrant in August sun,
vibrant against marble and arid Sicilian grass:
a home I loved that was never truly mine.
Forgive me -
I never thought to ask where you are from.
When disease struck the world and, for the second time,
I was forced to pupate in stillness,
I looked to you — clinging to walls,
fragrant in August sun —
to tell me that the world remained outside.
As the earth turns furnace, I
fear for you in the place where first we met
but see you here, further north
than I ever imagined myself.
I will never know you like I knew you then.
In quiet green, I realise that
I don’t know which birds are calling.
You and I, we can fasten to whatever stone we find.
This piece was written in conversation with the short film Between Earth and Sky by Andrew Nadkarni, at a “walkshop” led by the director himself at Sheffield Documentary Film Festival.