I was watching QVC when the presenter
began to go gauzy,
lines of beige sofa becoming visible
behind her until
she had vanished.

The Vanilla Cupcake Medium Housewarmer Jar
from Yankee Candle
hovered, for a moment,
in the space where her hand had been,
then it hit the carpet with a thud,
and a cameraman started screaming.

All over town it was the same story:
outside Costas lay the stilts, mask and
black poncho of a street performer,
snatched in the act of bothering strangers;
in the tattoo parlour, a needle gun purred
like a moth in a paper shade,
a design featuring the Chinese ideograms for
‘tiger’ and ‘bliss’
draped face up in the vacant chair;

and through it all,
the local Harvester
stood quiet and
empty as the moon.

Weeks later we were still tallying casualties:
Alan Titchmarsh,
vortex healers,
dads in courdroy;
now just a series
of slow pans across deserted rooms.

And everywhere, poets
held their hands up to the light,
wondering at their opacity.