five a.m.

a pencilled skyline of factories and houses
under the belly of the clouds

fractured laughter under the railway bridge
where three vagrants
are dancing round a fire of refuse
a fourth thumping a maudlin tune
from a child’s xylophone

the air
heavy with rust and dust
hangs uneasily over
collapsed walls of corrugated iron


shadows under a stark tree twisting like roots
conspiring whispers

one of the dancers has slipped over and cut his
the xylophone still shows its sharp little teeth
a modest fork of blood accumulates dirt on its descent

a scrawny urban cat bristles and flees

the hourly fast train passes

like a thick poison dawn seeps
through the crack of the skyline

From The Small Hours. All texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.

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