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streetlight romance

He was still a boy, not yet grown,
Unwise and his heart full of rage.

He hid his anger in work and books,
Tripping over shadows of past misdeeds.

She had naught but her deadly looks,
And a paper bag of the city’s names.

She was rough, roguish, rude, crude-
She’d have ‘em by the dozen if she could.

She smoked cigs like she drained her men:
Hard and fast and to the end.

His father was a good man, yes he was.
But he was a man and she had him too.

He wanted to see her cruelty, to ask
Where he stood in her list of victims.

He screamed in the moonlight, accusing,
Each spiteful word packing a bruise.

She stared, spat, sighed and stood,
Silenced him with her feather touch.

‘Why?’ she mocked, her voice ablaze,
Laughing as he buckled under her.

‘Why indeed, child,’ she murmured, lips to skin,
Hand to pulse as she taught him to swim.

He grew burdened, heavy on her breath,
And she kissed away his disappointed tears.

‘You’ll be a fine man, child,’ she cooed,
Lulling him to sleep on a street’s lullaby.

When he awoke, he found himself lost.
Naked, he clutched at a nightmare.

No beds there but the walls and the mud-
The back alley of old tricks, new sin.

Confused, he cried and hung his head.
Behind his eyes, he saw her walk away-

A tucked in heel, a discordant sole,
Flapping against the concrete.



© Marziya Mohammedali, 2001-2013