The rich alone are capable
Using trap doors and tunnels, back doors
and green dust to pull their disappearing acts,
before the bombs, before the red paint
on the doors, the lamb’s blood, the bricks;
clutching their passports behind turnpikes
and roadblocks, waving their bills
of health, looking through the riot shields
forcing force in on itself, grinding disquiet
behind the gates, behind the walls, back
into the pest house, and weighing down
its pockets for pits sunk at Knightsbridge;
getting out before the lime, before
the spade, before the cart, before the bell,
before the rumour and the fever starts.
John Challis is the author of a pamphlet, The Black Cab (Poetry Salzburg, 2017), a 2019 New Writing North Read Regional title. He’s the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Northern Writers’ Award, and his poems have appeared on BBC Radio 4, and in Magma, The North, Poetry London, The Rialto, Stand, Under the Radar, and elsewhere.