Every park bench caught in this traffic eddy
looks like greying salvage to me,
a hoary scene that wrecks my soul.
Even from the safety of this gulls’-eye view
on the upper deck of a number 94,
my eye quivers against the glass
as I spy those heavy planks,
that rusting iron, the painted
arms of the sprawled men.
On littered pavements, young
Irish mothers sweep past
in their tight jeans and wet-combed
ponytails pulled back so hard
their tired faces could scream.
Gripping anxious toddlers by their leads,
they razor through the crowd like sharks.
The blazing sun cheers the men endlessly.
They doze and shift in their seats,
polishing the brass memorial plaque
that misinforms them of the date.
We start with a jerk and sail on.
They wave, mocking rescue –
cradling tins between their knees
like rationed water.