I touch the quivering lips of this city—
They open
With quick little sighs rising up into the atmosphere
Lost as I lift my eyes to the bright sunshine

Rain they told me
I didn't bring an umbrella and
my skin thanks me for it

Sunshine boiling into the sidewalk
and reflecting off the "posh" little shops

Never in my life have I seen so many cigarettes
Rolled up, lit up, laying lost on the ground even
sticking off the walls like greeting hands—
I don't shake them for fear that they'll fall

People keep staring

Is it my smile which seems so lost in this sea
of lips all twisted and pinched
As if sour sounds chime
rather than that woman's voice all cautious and firm
"Mind the gap"

I'm a child in this town
With no adult to tell me yes and no
Or bathe me with wise advice on why we don't do things that way

So I smile
And wear all the clothes I said I would
if I went to a city like this

I laugh at the rot and the oily water
Splashing against my scavenging fingers
looking for pieces of tile and little white pipes
My hands green and chalky for hours on end

Ah this city is a tramp
But its frame is like a queen
Rotting and falling off the edge of the earth