Everything Flows

Heraclitus: You cannot step twice into the same river


You aren’t even the same person who stepped into your last bath.

Ouse, Ure, Esk, Wharfe, Derwent,

rolling past drinkers to proms, pregnancies, jobs, moves, marriages, retirements.

Kisses, letters, certificates and contracts go damp at the edges.

Smiles seemed wider in that old place; in summer; in 1973.

Houses you used to live in contain enough shed skin to make everyone you used to be.

If only the world was big enough to hold you all.

Ribble, Skell, Swale, Dearne, Aire.

Everyone in your family tree could be grown again from a single strand of hair,

called back to meet you; utterly strange and recognisable.

Hire a dysfunction room, marvel at pot pourri, Kit Kats and Chap Stick

at how none of you look like you’re from round here originally, not unless you were protozoa.

Nidd, Foss, Humber, Rother, Calder

gliding past with the true illusion of constant flow

escaping subtle digs about how they’re looking older

slipping by like seasons or stone. Not timeless or unchanging. Only slow.

Kate Fox is a stand-up poet. Her second comedy series was broadcast on Radio 4 last June. She has been Poet in Residence for the Great North Run, Glastonbury Festival and Saturday Live on Radio 4. She has been commissioned by the Great Exhibition of the North, Yorkshire Festival, Hull City of Culture 2017 and several literature festivals. She recently successfully completed her PhD on class, gender and Northern English regional identity in stand-up performance, having held a full-time studentship in the Performance and Cultural Industries School at the University of Leeds. She has undertaken numerous participatory projects in performance and writing with school and community groups.