No one filled Tommy’s wellies
as we turned on Christmas lights
in the park.
No one forgets your name
while taking your loan repayment
No one gives you chocolates
way past their sell-by date:
Tommy has moved.
Kath has died.
Elsie has died.
Jimmy is in Chorlton
but where are his kids?
Margaret, now well again
is in Withington.
Beryl, across the park
has regained her spring.
But where are the Nguyen’s?
Where’s Canadian Steve?
Where are the nameless Czechs
who loved to hear me play the guitar
over their garden wall?
What has happened to Phil, the dealer?
Or Angela or Janet, his terrified pawns?
Where is Jimmy, whose unpronounceable name
was never given?
And where is the church they were all drawn to?
Where is the church where community gathered?
Where is the church where people communed?
I will destroy this temple that is made with hands,
and in three days I will build another,
not made with hands.
A thousand years is like a second.
Two thousand years—a baby born
Two thousand years—a baby sought
Two thousand years—a baby forced to flee
Censused in Bethlehem
Dwelling in Nazareth
Hiding in Egypt
Lost to the system
Where are the Bar-Josephs?
Whatever happened to Yeshua?
A voice cries in Ramah
A voice cries in Openshaw
A voice cries across the demolition site
A voice cries in the wilderness