The sign stares down and warns;
“Do not feed the pigeons”.
It may as well not be there, it’s pointless;
Like telling her not to smile or breathe,
Or not to feed the pigeons.
Maybe she can’t even read.
After buying the seeds from
Holland and Barrett she limps
With her world in plastic bags
Through a forest of CCTV in
Slippers under multilayered clothes to the
Mayors Gardens on bowed
Ulcerated legs; hawk-eyed mothers
Gather children like addled hens mistaking
A lamb for a vixen.
‘In Loving Memory of a Dear Mother
And Grandmother’ shines proudly
From the bench where she sits.
And then they come; clattering.
First in ones and twos and then in dozens,
From the spire and verandas
And the bus shelters along the prom’,
Knowing exactly the sun-shadow and chime.
A downdraft blur of coloured applause
That delights her, more iridescent than
A thousand retinas, more beautiful
Than peacocks eyes.
Tourists point and stare from
Open topped busses..
‘Doesn’t she know they’re
Just rats with wings’?
Across the boulevard a traffic warden
Admires a Community Support Officer.
And then the game’s up. A black shadow
Scatters the flock ‘Can’t you read Madam?
It’s a bye-law, hygiene, public open space,
Anti-social behaviour, (then the clincher),
Health ‘n safety. Don’t you see”?
She stores the seeds for another day
And hefts herself from the bench,
Limping away to give a pound
To the not-quite-yet blind drunks.
Another act of charity in Everytown.