I set up on the corner where people
from the big houses walk past. Before
anyone raises a hand to hail a taxi I offer
my services. One day I will own suits
with sharp hemlines that don’t fray,
and fine, woollen socks that won’t lose
grip. Sometimes a customer goes to pat
my head and look me in the eyes.
The boy smiles. I admire enterprise
in the young and stop; he can shine
my shoes. I’d touch his hair, but
it’s grease laden. The spit-filled dusters
he uses are worn. In the reflection of leather
lips narrow. I search my pockets for change,
his hands almost too small to take it.
I call a cab to take us from here.
I can’t bear how he looks like a puppy
poised to jump. Behind the window
I can’t move – or hear what’s said
to make him pack up and scamper
away. When he comes home with food
to cook, and scrubs his hands reeking
of musk and polish, I want to tell my son
to run ‒ no matter how worn his shoes.
© Sally Flint
On Dark Nights
Let’s experiment with the brightest
vermillion and viridian and every other hue
we can mix. Let us cover desks, splash walls,
enliven playgrounds, decorate buildings, until roofs
and treetops touch. Find space to create
peaceful places for all the wild and lost creatures
to live and discover delicacy in grey as we tip
the wings of sparrows. Let’s examine happy,
lonely and angry faces. Load our brushes
with paint that runs beyond frames,
until we understand the whole spectrum,
from reflective white to the many shades of black.
© Sally Flint