And When I Sleep, Luella. [vii]

Later, he gave her coins, coffee and direction off the yard.

Unfamiliar city street. Spat on tarmac. Hounds’ crap in mounds. Remnants of plastic bags pennant the choking trees. Hard lips and hard eyes and spray painted hatred. Thin drinkers and fat eaters. Detritus and, shoulder to shoulder, District and Circle, bowed, escalator eyes and boom and tube scree.

Sleeping bags, coffee shops, aerosol up sleeve. Grey. Drizzled faces. She begins to carry herself down. Begins her declivity. Excuse me, she says. But it’s like some foreign language. She has a plastic beaker, says coffee on it. Not a handwritten sign. Not yet. Thinks it might say please help in betting shop biro. Rain, rush of traffic on road, rain, splashes of metallic; visual; aural.

No, I can’t. I’m afraid.

The last two words stick with her. Glimpse of their meaning. Sirens. Two boys sometimes looming, just looking. She doesn’t like the circling, the edging. Beggars have dead cow eyes, but, cons, they have snakes’.

and when i sleep, luella [vii/xii] ©2019

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