Wildlife lies behind the land
like seventeenth-century wallpaper

behind Edwardian parlour print
behind a buff matt finish.

Infant elephant ears poke up
the pavement. Shark gills ripple

as wind slashes the polythene
of a puddle. Eyes flash on

Victorian brick owls when
the Top Floor Flat gets home first

on the kind of winter nights that
make sardines push doors into

square whales to hear opera in fabric
ribs washed up on the South Bank.

This is all the world coming together,
joining zoology to architecture

to history to paper:
right here, right now.

And here is all the world falling
away again, its wall as heavy as

the mammoths still pounding
the sedge beneath your feet.