Scalping

 

The bruised summer air smells tender, like a torch shone through fingers. Your hands knead my scalp like a flour-splattered cook rolling love-dough. You rinse hard thoughts from my eyelashes and they dissolve in the water like coffee granules but the flowers on Columbia Road are shrivelling and that hot Hackney jerk chicken tang is turning sour in our mouths. You scrub the dirt from my skin and we dream of fresh menthol. Winter is severe and I don’t want to be severed from you but this city is sun weary and so am I and I will never be peppermint even if I soak into a prune. So I pull out the bathplug and you turn on the electric light and suddenly I am raw naked and everything curls sadly down the plughole and into the sewers. What was once ours trickles gently beneath the skyscrapers until it joins the wild rivers and flows out into the open sea.