After the horsemen and the slaves, before
the Stalins and the Hitlers, were the skilful
cities – cosmopolitan, pragmatic,
loud and solemn with towers, spires, domes.
There are some who would reprise a fictive past,
revert from countries of convenience
to imaginary nations, ignore
the corrupting legacy of empire,
the corrupted remittance of colonies,
oil trumping Crusades and martyrdom.
Europe could break like a slate across old
fault lines – a slate smudged with alphabets.
Europe could rub out its history.
There are swastikas in Brick Lane and Berlin,