A young boy,
a first-year university student,
takes the bus home
through a scuzzy part of town.
He looks out the windows.
Slumped against the doorway
a man bleeds into his own blood,
he's just been shot dead
for no reason, really,
except that a gang, having robbed a shop
still had a bullet left in a gun.
The dead man bleeds,
in his hand
blue cigarette smoke still curls from a lit cigarette.
Paying an account in a smart department store,
I stand behind a couple.
She: short, fattish, plain, young;
he: taller, fatter, plain, young.
For a long long time he caresses the
hard cartilage of her ear,
round and round the seashell shape,
she looks demure,
he is so tender.
I look away,
the line shuffles forward.
(Published in The fire in which we burn)