7. Margaret Perry

A Fox Crosses a Road One Evening in Soho


Wait for the light to change.


You are a child in the supermarket, lost.

Quake amidst the condiments, pray

for your name on the tannoy, the flurry

of Dad’s shoes to Aisle Two.


You are the till girl, zero hours. Stand

with empty hands, glassy face. Dream

yourself setting everything alight,

as the self-service checkout pontificates.


You are my grandmother in her last days, tiny

and brave, when they took her car keys away.

Stare at the laptop we bought you. Decide

you are too old and it is too new.


Bristle as I watch you from the top deck, dreaming.

Pour bleach on these streets! See the boughs of the trees

creep triumphant through bars and cafes. Peel

up the pavement! Free the long-flattened stargazing weeds –


Green. It flashes in your eyes, cold glass

in dark earth. Cross amidst a throng of tourists,

tramping through their Fridays towards the future.

Disappear. Not one person looks down