Guest Poem by Kim Moore

Kim Moore’s first collection The Art of Falling (Seren 2015) won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Her second collection All The Men I Never Married (Seren, 2021) won the 2022 Forward Prize for Best Collection. She has published two creative non-fiction books: What the Trumpet Taught Me (Smith/Doorstop, 2022) and Are You Judging Me Yet? Poetry and Everyday Sexism (Seren, 2023). She works as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. This poem is from Acumen 107.

And As When

And as when the houses of Pompei
were covered in ash, heavy enough
to cause buildings to collapse,

and the pyroclastic flows,
mixtures of lava blobs and gas
ran through the city

faster than a horse could run,
the horses trapped in harness
in the stable, bodies perfectly

preserved, a child curled
underneath a mother,
a father stretching out his hand,

as they lay trapped in time
and still lay trapped in time,
so what happened between us

resembles something like
a city caught beneath the ash
and only empty spaces

where once people lived
and loved and kissed.
Look how thorough I am –

searching the Street of Balconies,
the Villa of Mysteries,
the Garden of Fugitives,

the House of the Faun.
I cannot let it rest. I pour
liquid plaster into every gap.

I watch the bodies rise.