Things No Longer There

I gcead do Kobus Moolman

Poor deleted Tarragona, our city of bonfires. Our city of casual drug use and vinyl that’s been consigned to the archive of snow.

What what what’s missing, what’s conspicuous by its absence from the main square and its tributaries: the future perfect or future continuous?

I can’t find that beautiful thing you asked me for. I can’t find my memory of making it.

When that device was triggered in Placa del Pi at first no one noticed anything. But then the different parts of speech began to shrivel and petrify, to disappear completely; interjections, measure words gone within a fortnight.

We’d open our mouths to utter them but nothing.

Shortly after that came the battalions, marching in ebony lockstep across a border we’d misplaced, had long ago forgotten ever existed.

They just appeared one Sunday in their expressionless squadrons, they appeared like chimes solidifying in their obsidian fatigues.

They occupied Jew Hill, the barracks, the Generality.

By then all the hard-edged abstract words had rotted, had grown 
incontinent and squelching, as the canker advanced with terminal 
facility from diamantine epidermis to pulpy interior.

No plums anymore.

When they come they come in the predawn to confiscate recollection, targeting random apartments in the sour-milk light, each wears a             helmet.

No sausages. No                           . None of those lavender-remembering pears I’d bring in baskets for you every October.

They’re unscrewing the street signs on                           and                         

Your clean, cedar-hinting scent, your scent of                                    

                                    I can’t find my memory of                             

                           they                                    can’t                        
More Poems by Billy Ramsell