Rheumy eyes peer from behind tattered curtains

at truants in school whites and trampled books

muttering curses as huge almond fruits rain down

his soundless feet bear him to the open door

In his veiny hand, there is a cruelly-long whip

he smiles as running steps fade from the unkempt yard

but he forgets to breathe

The customer stomps and shouts

the little apprentice boy jumps, snatching flying notes

As she touches fingertip to tongue and towards sky,

raised hands fend off spewed curses

and grimy trousers quiver beneath aluminium hulks

as metal on metal drown out singing birds.

The infant toddles around the park

his chubby fingers swiping at bigger boys

he cries when they twist out of his grasp,

outstretched hands summon his harried mum,

she huffs,

he grins as she tosses him high

laughter rolls out of the mum cluster on the grass

anger weaves its web

and she never sees the sky.


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