He was sitting on that cracked stone bench beneath the black and broken ash
carefully sticking pins in a voodoo doll, and, as he did do,
chain-smoking his rizla speciality roll-ups of
found and collected tobacco cut with, I don’t know, perhaps the mugwort
we used to smoke experimentally at school.
I wonder if he remembers me from those days; he never speaks,
and nor do I, to my shame perhaps. Not far away
a few anxious starlings strutted and pecked, not caring
to come too close. As much as they part of the park wildlife,
he sucked on his creased and thin smoke, cursed at the grey and spitting sky, and
chose to dig in a pin with unusual fierceness, just as I happened by.
Was it just coincidence that a sudden pain shot through my spine?
And, if so, why the raised eyebrow and half smile, as I glanced across?
He is there on that bench every day, and his doll is always with him,
and the pins are carefully inserted. I wonder who that doll may be? Perhaps anyone who happens
to get too close. Like the starlings, I think it may be best
to keep my distance. Tomorrow, perhaps, I may choose a different path through the park,
and allow the thrust of the pin to be for someone else.