I pluck a needle from my heart.
What is it? A sadness -
The tightly closed leather face of someone
sleeping on the pavement next to an empty lager can.
I turn the heart over.
I pull another needle out.
This one is the shouting of a thin lined woman at children who no longer hear her.
Look, there’s another.
The fat angry fist of a bullied girl, clenched around a packet of crisps she doesn’t want to eat.
Chewing them drowns out the taunts.
And this one,
the drooping shoulders of a man who has spent the last twenty years
commuting for an hour and half each way to work.
So many more -
The frenetic fatal cartwheeling of a pigeon hit by a bus.
The surreptitious wipe of leaking eyes with a soaked tissue.
The takeaway box dropped a metre from the bin.
The rattling cough from lungs full of dust and diesel fumes.
The prurient leer from a lorry driver.
A blur of gesture
Glare, stumble, curse, honk, cackle, push, hurryrushlatelatelate -
I stop plucking.
I know the cost of living here now.
Walking with my eyes open,
that resonant twinge at every step.