And When I Sleep, Luella. [viii]

The blear of legs, Queen Street. She sat sucking can, taking hand down, some pocket job, jerk work, crumb of brown. Cigarette, coin, nothing for hours. Then nothing for hours but soup and shit sandwich. Violence, advice and compromise. She sat the step of the one-stop shop. Sometimes slept there. Squatted New Cross. One day that stopped. The loom boys came over. Ask she want a job.

That worked awhile.

*

She burned under dim suns, avoided the loom boys, Dizzy and Lemons. Smeared beneath cheap shades, parka hood, she snorkelled, acted like she was back in the game. She owes them monkeys money. But she has no money. Well, nothing for monkeys. Twenties in her panties. She thought she’d see if the asian boys were about, talk herself a favour. She sheltered the Southbank shadows, passing the dregs of the snide almost-rock to the children, skateboards clacking. The riders leaned, in silence, this way and that, brief pavement. The pat and tap of sneaker. Beyond the lid of underpass, the river rolled, carried souls, obol tongued. She studied faces, erotemal, bent, double. Sandwich, salad, saturate. Little blue suits. Necks arranged with loose coloured nooses. She wondered just who were the dead. She or them.

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

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