Verse 23: Water in Badalona


A brass tap and bowl embossed with a crest
an invite from some wealthy soul. Once new
now scratched and scuffed, this nameless parting gift
that bids the passer-by step up and drink

“Come sate your thirst, and moisten those dry lips”,
leaving unspoken: “Only mouthfuls, please”,
believing water natural has no price,
believing there would never be such need.

The languid pair who lean upon it so
and tip their plastic barrels to each spout,
the hurried shuffler in the bus headlamps,
the stooping youth who bears the family load

all drain the taps eight litres at a time
to stop eviction, doing as they must.
Complaining neighbours and the stern elect
refuse to have the crisis in their sight.

The drying up of favour and of luck,
the girdling ever tighter with no end,
we cheer the lifelines cut when they’re not ours.
As poverty floods all, we plug all hope.

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