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new eltham library

escaping the stifling confines
of a smugly overheated
suburban branch library,
outside, perched on the edge
of a bench cold as despair.

overtaken by the flash flood
of a hot flush pressed like an iron
to the base of the back
of her neck
an energy saving bulb
of intense fever,
turning her ears scarlet.

this icy spot the usual preserve
of a homeless man, often burdened
with unwieldy bundles
of belongings. around the co-op
he shambles aimlessly,
in hope of charity,
the other shoppers repelled
by his centrifugal fug.

for he came complete
with his own peculiar miasma,
of unwashed and ceased to care.
it preceded him, a tolling bell,
and lingered long after his parting,
as though his presence stained the air.

Image of New Eltham Library from flickr.