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Category Archives: Prose

Portrait: Hulme Park, 7th September

She walks across the grass, dragging her heavy feet: rollerblades. Ten minutes ago she was gliding, looping around me (and the park) in great rings, smooth and quiet. She’s streamlined: black leggings, black vest top, shaved head; she looks like someone you see in the background of an indie film, too cool for real life. Yet here she is, lying smack in the middle of the green, scrolling through her phone, untouched by the breeze.

Her rollerbladed feet cross at the ankles as if it’s the most comfortable thing in the world, as if they’re not heavy at all. And that brazen pink strip of sports bra, stark against the black of skin and cloth, is everything. It is an island of extraordinary in the ordinary, and so is she.

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Crow on Deansgate

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A moment was exchanged in the street, and I found it odd. Two women, travelling in opposite directions, had expressed mutual sadness, then continued on their way.

I walked up to the place where they had met, and there, in a sunlit corner, stood the petrified corpse of a crow. Still standing upright, eyes open, beak wide in the ghost of a caw, it might have been alive- were it not for the telltale stillness.

Because I am a writer, I want to find meaning in this gory statuette, but because this is real life, I do not get that consolation. The bird died, mid-cry, as creatures in pain tend to do. In the heat of the sun, its meat will not last long, and later this afternoon, the most underpaid employee at the shop it happened to die in front of will be sent out with a bin liner to dispose of it before it frightens customers away.

That strange bird who chose to die loudly and publicly rather than quietly out of sight will be thrown out with the rubbish.

And it won’t mean anything at all.