A great wall bars entrance
to the hidden dormitory just inside,
as porters ogle at my luggage clad naiveté.
I leave my luggage,
turn north and walk
past pools of people, gliding
making room for my intrusion.
We disperse like smells perfumed in air,
sticky Belgium waffles encased in melting
fetters of ice cream and quaggy strawberries:
4 £ 50 p.
Scuzzy and unctuous spices flicker by
while reused peanut oil sizzles in an obsidian wok
standing inside a glaring red truck.
Prismatic tapestries sway in the wind
dappled with light-searing sequins
and flecked whimsical sparkle.
Children run underfoot from their mothers
nicking a coveted peach.
They rest underneath a marble cat,
mouse just out of reach,
all rubbing the delicate gausey peach flesh
across shining pink cheeks.
Sheathed in the open-air market I am impervious,
my disquietude obscured by blaring abstraction:
ivories devouring free-range sinew
enveloped by flakey, buttery pastry.
I stay until it closed at 5,
the illusion fragmenting before me.
I watch as stands ripen into dullness
and my quaint oasis disappears.
I walk back to the daunting wall and enter,
a peach in my hand.
1 succulent bite
and tomorrow I will return.
A poem about Christ’s College and the city of Cambridge in England.