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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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The Tarmac Physicist



Whencrossing the road, the old man
would take his time.

Hands deep in pockets, rubbing the lint
that collects between washes, his head bent
and smiling beneath the upturned collar.

The old man had time and he liked to flaunt it.

Being old and wise in the ways of the road
he knew his chances of ending up road kill
were slim.

He knew because he made damn sure of it.

The old man wasn't one to jump a car
at the last minute - no. He left that trick
for the wrinkly comrades further along the road,
S.C.S - Senior Citizen Suiciders, he called them.

He didn't want to die just yet
and certainly not by the blunt of a car - no sir.

He planned his crossing with timed precision.

Judging the speed and distance of the on-coming traffic
against the knots of prevailing wind and then estimating
that against the time it would take the drivers to realise
they would have to reduce speed and allow
the poor, bloody, old, sod to cross.

He had a thing for expensive cars
and would fake a limp just to spite them.
It was his way of indirectly enforcing power
over the corporations - showing them who was boss.

He was a crafty old bugger.

The locals named him The Tarmac Physicist.

Old people, they said, are the new superstition:
it's bad luck when they cross your path
and seven years to life if you hit them.

The old man knew this and made damn sure everyone else did.




She dresses neutral
in her earthy flag of raw beech linen.

The rain soaks her hooded gabardine
as she tucks her head in deeper.

Camouflaged, she rustles past,
hushed like the trees lining boulvevards.

Her hand clasps one of the four buttons,
gathering herself like raindrops on the end of a leaf.

The rain ceases.

A coloured arch appears in the sky.

Her passage through the sheer
and jagged exteriors goes unnoticed.

The people stop, their faces tilted.

Under the brown hood she watches
and moves amongst their upright bodies like a child.

She stretches her arm and opens her hand to fondle
the streams of light showering their silent expressions.

But the people don't see her.

They won't find the colour brown in a rainbow.

They won't see her till they know it's missing.