The obese man loomed like a pedestrian iceberg
on the Oxford Street footpath.
His black trousers flapped like a nomad’s tent.
I heard the Mongolian desert song of guy ropes
plucked like harp strings by a nimble wind.
His white shirt billowed,
a sail sprayed by the salt of his sweat.
Like an otter emerging from an oil slick,
his lacquered grey hair gasped for air
as frequently as he did.
He noted people’s stares as though compiling
a catalogue of slights.
With the defiance of a pensioned-off circus freak
he answered my gaze.
The poet wishes to acknowledge The West Australian in whose pages a version of this poem first appeared.