The Tything, 8.57am on a Wednesday
It isn’t the red shoes with red
heels and matching red handbag.
It’s the way she simply steps out
and the traffic parts. She walks tall,
elegant, ear to her phone. Her dark
ponytail is a swinging pendulum –
controlling time in this moment.
Tick, tock, tick. Car and bus engines
slow to silence as she crosses.
Not a glance to her left or right,
as if no other possibility than all motion
around her will stop. In her world,
a narrow path through dense forest.
A woodland coppice pooling sunlight
and shadows. Birdsong pauses.
Trees listen for her skipping feet.
A single autumn leaf slips free.
Something rustles. Wolf whistles
start to form in hot exhaust pipes.
Engines rev. Hands hover over horns.
She jaunts up the kerb and stone steps
towards her glass reflection, pushes open
the swing-door, and vanishes.
The traffic slinks on.
S.A. Leavesley is a poet, fiction writer, journalist, photographer, editor. Her latest books are: ‘How to Grow Matches’ (Against The Grain Press) and ‘plenty-fish’ (Nine Arches Press), both shortlisted in the International Rubery Book Awards. Her website is at www.sarah-james.co.uk.