One Way Back to Babylon

“Can I go home yet?” 
Such a small voice for a big statue

On a grey stool in the corner
a British Museum guard yawns
and turns away from the conversation.
Maybe this happens every day.

“Where’s home?” I whisper.
“Where the sea eats the sky,
where the shells have lost their voices.”

A charioteer taps my shoulder.
“Me too. Have you come with horses
wild enough to drive us back to Hellas?
No one needs us here.”

Across Room 115 they queue politely:
a jade dragon, 
a gold l lama,
a bronze king,
a silk princess,
a whale bone chessman,
an ivory dildo,
a granite Buddha 
whose smile has long since flown,
the inevitable mummy
an alabaster bishop,
an ebony judge,

like I have the keys to a Magic Bus
to repatriate every exhibit to its ruin.

The British Museum guard excavates
a nostril and checks his watch.
There’s still an age to pass before lunch.


Photo by Rohan Rangaswami on Unsplash

Mark Fiddes

Mark was just placed third out of 15,000 in the UK's National Poetry Competition. A recent winner of the Ruskin Prize and runner-up in the Bridport Prize and Poetry Society Stanza Competition, he has published one collection "The Rainbow Factory" and a pamphlet "The Chelsea Flower Show Massacre" (both by Templar). His work been published in Poetry Review, Magma, The Irish Times, The New European, The London Magazine and POEM International among many others. Normally resident in London, he's living in temporary Brexile in the Middle East.