Foreigner

by Alison Jesson

In the dead hours before dinner she lies inert,
waiting to retie her shoes and stumble
back into the city in search of food.
She has cricked her neck to gaze at Gaudi’s curves
followed the guide book, chapter and verse,
lit candles for saints, sent cards
and whiled away minutes in corner cafés,
watching other tourists watching her.

She looked through beggars,
avoided back streets, spoke to no one
as she trailed over the surface missing the colours.
The map of her lies neatly folded on the bed.
It shows well-kept avenues with tasteful façades
empty churches, childless parks,
and a maze of dark, uneven lanes,
uncharted, unexplored