Danny Hutley

A northern air of anger pummelled down

Then forced a fractured pollen in our lungs

Caught us before we could draw a breath

Wore our ear-drums woollen, snagged the sound

of voice: the fup of lips and tooth-touched tongue

So easy to spot chemists at the bar:

We’re all on Sydney Road or two stops south

Shimoli says she’s counting down her dose

And Aurélie is calling me a car

With morning hiss of nitrous round her mouth

I dream the wheeze within me starts to clear

Old heavens lift me softly to my room

Where Jesus Christ is rolling on the floor

Extends our faithless visas one more year

Connects his phone and passes the balloons

And when I wake—it’s a sun-flashed blinder!

Shakes my rattling cough up to a rage

Steals away the doughy hours of drawling

My drab inhaler: one reminder

That I will always be my current age

The air down here’s too full of steroid spray

And there’s little point in doing shots past two

Truth is, Shimoli never left her home

And Aurélie’s already flown away

That northern wind will come to take me too

But Ling,

She knows

Where we will go

Come morning.