City discards clutter small hours:
Newsprint, empty can, polystyrene cup.
Desolate alleys flood with shadows,
unpitied cardboard beds.
By morning, urban constructs
suck people in, breathes them out.
Hospital, bank, library, crime scene.
The city views all with equanimity.
Busses roll through cameos
framed by windows, mirrored puddles,
eyes of passers-by.
A cinema contains afternoon idlers,
a couple kissing at the back, a groper,
hands under a ‘mac’, all in dark anonymity.
Fountains splash, benches wait,
bins overflow.
Civic buildings usher the public
through pompous portals.
Care and corruption
stand in precarious balance.
Elsewhere sun spotlights drug-riddled estates,
brutal architecture, doleful facades,
broken lifts that smell of piss.
Late at night streetglaze colours
money-armoured men, the vapid beautiful,
champagne smiles,
raised above the muck of the cities skirts.
She who is fair in her distribution of contempt.
Curls round the smallest hours,
sleeps in dawn’s inevitable rise.

Miki Byrne