[by Ali Jones]
You must cross his palm with silver,
or he cannot pass; he cannot explain,
currant eyes peering beneath clouds
of leaf hair, unruly enough to be fashionable
and hide that which should remain secret,
lest it cause distress.
He will take you
by the hand, clothed in the fashion of the day,
bright logos, shoes made for speed,
although he does not need them, bony fingers
imploring, can you spare 60p? Only
an adamant shake of the head if asked why.
You hand it over because you do not know
what else to do, then walk the uncomfortable line
away from him, among billboards, cigarette butts,
receipts, coffee cups, curling in the rain.
He is gone, his measured pace too fast
for the human eye flashes him away,
like a door into something, opening.
Ali Jones is a teacher and writer, living in Oxford, England. She holds an MA in English, focused on poetry in domestic spaces and has written poetry in a variety of forms for many years. She is a mother of three. Her work has appeared in Fire, Poetry Rivals Spoken Word Anthology, Strange Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, Snakeskin Poetry, Atrium, Picaroon Poetry, Mother’s Milk Books, The Lake Magazine, Breastfeeding Matters, Breastfeeding Today, and Green Parentmagazine. She writes a regular column for Breastfeeding Matters magazine, and blogs for The Motherload. She was the winner of the Green Parent Writing Prize in 2016, the runner up for the Mother’s Milk prize for prose in 2016, and has also written for The Guardian. Her poetry pamphlets, Heartwood and Omega, are forthcoming with Indigo Dreams press in 2018.