I Never Asked for Another City

Arriving back in London,
I think: Why have we done this?

I don’t want The Shard
or the Docklands Light Railway.

I don’t want Fenchurch Street
or the peopled walk to Tower Hill.

I don’t want the Tower of London.
I don’t know which part of the world I want

or which part of the world wants me
but I know I don’t want it all to myself.

I want some trees and some other
plants, a body of water, a shelter.

If you cannot be my shelter,
could you be a tree, shelter me incidentally?

from There is (still) love here by Dean Atta (Nine Arches Press, 2022)

© Dean Atta
With kind permission from the poet.

There is (still) love here by Dean Atta
(Nine Arches Press, 2022)

Dean Atta

Dean Atta is a British author hailing from London and living in Glasgow. He is a Malika's Poetry Kitchen member, National Poetry Day ambassador and LGBT+ History Month patron. Dean’s poems have been highly commended by the Forward Prizes for Poetry and shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition. His books have been praised by the likes of Bernardine Evaristo, Benjamin Zephaniah and Malorie Blackman. Dean’s debut poetry collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger (The Westbourne Press, 2013), was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. His novel in verse, The Black Flamingo (Hodder Children’s Books, 2019), won the Stonewall Book Award and was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, Jhalak Prize, Los Angeles Times Book Prize and Waterstones Children’s Book Award.