I’d worked through my lunch hour,
polished off that last report,
I’m free to take a walk.
There is a light drizzle and the air is white,
a sharp chill slices through my clothes.
I turn down the footpath, and
in the mournful spray,
pass a schoolboy
he’s feeding his pink, pubescent cheeks
grease and chips and energy drink.
He must have cut classes, I suppose.
Then into the fashionable square
where Chinese tourists snake a line
breathless and excited
for Louis Vuitton
a suited doorman is standing guard.
At the intersection, cars whip past.
Water sings on the road.
Some headlights are on
making orbs of yellow hollow in the fog.
to Swanston Street
a dreadlocked artist hunches over —
like a foetus on the dusty ground;
he chalks Mary Magdalene and baby Jesus,
life-size, beneath him.
There are few coins in his hat. A cat curls up beside it.
I stop for a sashimi platter at Saki Sushi.
With a too light tea.
A teenage girl wrapped in anorexia
hovers over the posted menu,
hovers some more, then leaves.
The clock tower says five to three.
So waiters gather on side alleys. Taxi-drivers agitate,
their engines blowing diesel, themselves heaving smoke.
Now that I have eaten I walk again
past Flinders Street Station
where people pour out and they pour in,
I wonder where they come from, where they’re going.
they are going there.
I put the collar of my trench coat up,
and it’s back to work
with hands in my pockets
and a plaintive poem in my heart.

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