Temporary Traffic Lights
It took twenty minutes to do six miles
and another twenty minutes to do a quarter
My whole life is temporary traffic lights
and candy-striped temporary bike lanes
The string of cars moves along modestly
No one sounds their horn
We sit in traffic; it’s restful
bikes weave around us
The council has strung
fairy lights across the trees
There’s a cliff of buses up ahead
I let one out it flashes Thanks
The radio burbles Win a million pounds
No repeat guarantee text us 50p
Someone is attempting a three point turn
in traffic schoolgirls cross in the lacuna
I check my watch I’m so late
it’s not even funny I’m on to Plan C
An emergency vehicle comes up behind
Someone inside no doubt is dying
It’s a grey winter’s day nearly night
I’m waiting at a temporary traffic light
and time is standing still and also flying
Clarke's Bar. Dundas Street
A French bulldog called Archie
waits patiently then
without invitation jumps
up on the banquette and leans
his head on my damp arm
snuffling the wool.
-- Are ye OK there? --
Sky sport on the large screen.
A half of Guinness
on the scored sticky
Clunk of kegs in the area.
A moment. Archie breathing.
His rough variegate coat.
Somewhere in the building
a door opens and closes.
A brief blare of music.
Nicole Lee was born in Kuala Lumpur and educated at Malvern and Oxford. She has worked as a banker in Hong Kong and London and now lives in Wandsworth, works in Kew and writes poetry.