Acland Street boredom

my companion is nine
we have sat together     street-side       for fifteen minutes
watching the citizenry of St Kilda pass us by
shopping       or putting in stroll time on Acland Street

for me       watching is a form of bread and butter
collection and collation of images       the form
and shape of an unsuspecting populace
large and small       bulging and shapeless
famous and anonymous unknown       wealthy       poor
all will pass in the course of an Acland Street Sunday

my companion is less patient than I       fidgeting
he informs me of his experience of present boredom
I explain why it can be interesting
we agree       politely       to disagree
but I consider the need to move on
and he watches with perhaps a little more attention

we glimpse each other’s eyes       suppressing grins
as from a shop doorway has emerged a vaguely female shape
thin to androgyny       otherwise unremarkable from toes to ears
above which perch a cluster of large and tight brown curls
reminding me of my mother and her ordeals
involving metal curlers elastic stoppers and hairpins 30 years ago
but these seem fixed and freestanding       almost rigid
incongruous       perhaps an ill-chosen wig       but if so       covering what

two imaginations are stirred

we laugh       unrestrained       when the apparition has passed
collect our things to go home       tell mum what we have seen
on Acland street

© Frank Prem, 2001

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