Coming Up Oxford Street – Rosemary Raiche

This poem contains language and references regarded as ‘Mature Content’. Reader discretion recommended.
(with apologies to Thomas Hardy)
The fingers of drizzle
dig in from the south
and scatter the drunks
from the top of Taylor’s Square
an empty paper cup sways
upside down on a dead branch
rotting leaves and debris
dam the swirling gutters
frail cats drift
beneath parked cars
a boy heavy with buckles
stumbles past
in pointed shoes
pinpoint pupils shift
under a swathe of hair
goosebumps lump
the shaven patch
and the wind
blows no good
as it cuts and lifts
the thin dresses
and short shorts
of the working girls
who tramp up Oxford Street
barely able to smile
eyes slipping round
blackened rims
like bowl-trapped goldfish
in soul-tired flesh
want dough tonight?
brassed up front
the bread shop beckons
thick with hot smells
on the street
the postpunk chick
with her mixed breed dog
looks wise today
not like yesterday
when she talked to me
she’s cool man
in this coldest of worlds
she stares right back
stranger today
than she was yesterday
–        I never saw her again