Hot Wind, White Sky ~ Amy

Watch, as I leave the gate.
Two girls are waiting for taxis,
two girls are crossing my path.
The first pair wear
barely there
skirts or a shirt masquerading as a dress.
We’d call them sluts or slags
or slappers, but we’ve all been there.
Long legs, frosty night, no coat,
no knickers.
But here they do it for a living.
The other pair crossing my path,
they don’t look at the legs,
just turn and whisper. Covered
head to foot, hijabs
flashing colour.

Come with me, let’s take a walk.
I’ll show you a pavement that
forgot its duty and fell
three feet into a drain.
A road crossing where the green man
runs in panic, feet pedalling
as if on an imaginary bicycle.
This city is built for cars.
Almost every car is a taxi, and yet
you want a ride?
‘Cannot lah.’

I’ll take you to a mall, half empty
half dying. Cracks creeping.
Upstairs, the walls yawn toothless
while half a mile away
they are building a new mall.

I trip on down the street, sweating.
How will I remember this place?

Hot wind, white sky,
sweat frozen, flags hung,
heavy breathing, brown skin,
smiling eyes, Indian accents,
aching heart, high-rise views,
vertical art.

It starts to rain
and the damp air hits my nostrils
like musty chloroform.
It could be London, if not for
the heat
and that cloud skewered on the Petronas.

Amy Austen

As a travel writer, reviewer and content writer, writing has taken her around the world, around the palate, and around the mind.

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