These Days

by Luke Otley

These days
I hurry to keep myself in sight.

Profile glances into restaurant windows
often whisper me warnings.
Ripples and slashes
I recognise only in passing
as slithers of a stranger’s sadness.
Half bald, quarter mad,
jaw taut as a mandolin string
I plod in heavy step
up and down streets
in a new town.

Rubbish sloshes out of bags,
gulls flick their heads
in a practised way
and work on the innards.

Not patient,
but simply enjoying the stasis,
I close my eyes
as I wait for the red light.