The traffic noise flows in—drone of an out-of-tune sitar,
a bellows made from a smashed oboe, a cello whose sound board
was warped by a curse, and a basket of broken bells begging for alms,
cross with a flugelhorn trampled by a truck
as a clarinet with its stops stuck by dung, reed broken
complains and complains that the squeeze-honk of a bugle
played by a man with black lung is biting its ear, each sharpening
note is a discord of nails running down a tarred blackboard
every handbrake is squealing, begging for any mercy, any coin,
a safe crossing, an untouched overtaking, a breath of clean air.
Carol Jenkins has published two poetry collections, Fishing in the Devonian (2008) and Xn (2013), and an illustrated novel, Select Episodes, from the Mr Farmhand Series.