What matters

You hurry home, sweating files and protocols – papers to be signed,
and mutter at the hustle of it all.
You turn instead to TV chefs and wannabes, from hunger
for you don’t know what.

But what matters?

Could it be the girl you saw on Walpole Street – a rag-bound chrysalis
of cardboard-cutout dreams, of butterfly-away tomorrows,
passed, by the busy-busy in long-exposure neon streaks?

Perhaps it is the boy who beats his arms around himself in army-issue coat –
warmed by a burning wreckage of a car, his brindle-coloured dog distracted by the sparks
that dance like ruby stars upon an ink-delinquent sky.

Or is it in the rat and piss-stink black, where a trolley-snagged canal
oozes under the train’s clack-clack, and a drunkard gropes on goose-bumped skin?
He tongues her ear and grunts.

What matters?

Photo by Alex Ozga

Photo by Alex Ozga

This.  The ones who had no choice, who ran from what abomination you can’t guess
– sent them running to find, not help, but files and protocols and papers to be signed.

© Caroline Fox Betts 2010

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