Wrap scarves around your mouth. The air is thick.
You need a torch to find your garden path.
Ten minutes outside means you need a bath.
You cough up sooty phlegm. It makes you sick.
I knew this as a child. It took an hour
to walk home from my school. To cross a street
risked life. Sometimes you could not see your feet.
Then it was smog. Today it is their power.
Lies, rape, theft, murders more than you can tell,
and none of us is safe. One day they come
the next you scream out as they break your thumb
‘Do it to Julia’. And in her cell
She shouts the same. ‘To her and not to me’.
We choke alone on what we cannot see.