The organic fruit shop had the roller down this morning.
‘A power cut,’ the guy said, ‘Half an hour ago.
The whole block is down, no word of when it’s coming back on.
We can’t sell you anything. Even the traffic lights are out.
‘Yes, I said, ‘I noticed that turning the corner.
I was impressed actually, this car was just stopped there.
Then I figured they saw I wanted to go right, I felt so touched.’
Real live human beings in control, my wave seemed so inadequate.
So I crossed the traintracks and headed home.
The other larger set of traffic lights were out too.
And two police officers, female and male, standing in the wide centre
Directing lines of traffic, hi-vis jackets on, but looking so vulnerable.
Can’t they give them those giant gloves you see at sports matches?
Just naked hands, sweeping and halting, each their own style,
Dark clothing, dark boots, watching each other’s backs, inaubible voices.
I was at the front of the queue, ‘her’ lane, she was my hero.
Large cars moving past, insistent gestures to the right-turning lanes,
A scary ‘halt’ to someone who wasn’t quite ‘with them’, and me thinking;
‘What would this be like, a worldwide powercut, a worldwide crisis.
Everyone thrown back on watching and waiting, close attention.’
Everyone with a new job to do, eyeing her expertise and vulnerability,
The lack of the best equipment, pale hands in the face of juggernauts
Who edge out too enthusiastically into the centre, not watching close enough.
‘Hey you, it’s my lane’s turn, me and my entourage behind, I’ve been watching.’
Us, whose fruit bruises so easily, who trust nature and vulnerability.