For the dverse prompt, Sarah is asking for a poem about markets. She mentioned Leeds Kirkgate market and it all came flooding back.
I used to walk through the market on my way home from school, Europe’s largest covered market, Victorian ironwork and glass so high it was full of pigeons and the dust of ages. There were proper shops, Polish Ashkenazi Jewish bakers and grocers where we bought bread and real jam, pickles and sausages, and Sephardic Jewish fabric merchants where my mother bought the makings of summer dresses.
You could buy anything at Kirkgate from hamsters and white mice to food mixers, worsted to pumpernickel. It was rough and beautiful columned like a cathedral and candle-banked with orange and red and green, mango to orange to lady’s fingers. Loitering after school among the exotic colours and smells, the multi-coloured shout and bustle of market folk was a walk on the tender side of wildness.
Then one December night it burnt down. In the middle of a school play, and the windows of the hall, that looked down on the city blazed orange. Nobody watched the play. The child actors crowded the big bay windows to watch the flames leap through Victorian ironwork and blown out glass, as the heart of the old city burned in hushed silence. I passed the smoking ruins the next day. They said the row of pet shops had burned. I cried all day.
glazed pigeon swirling roof
a child cries for
a cage of dead puppies