Transaction, Little Bourke Street

But there he was, kissing
the footpath with his knees, precisely
motionless
against the stop-start traffic’s kick-the-curb impatience
beside the heart-lifting red
and blue, and green
of the patterned Chinese memorial gateway —
Earth’s short arch to Heaven —
near Russell Street.
Steeply bent over a basin half-filled with kitchen water,
as predictably chill
Melbourne rain began to spit through storey-tall gaps
in the sky-line, his intensity
tingled
the low-key atmosphere, but it wasn’t the touch of the rain
he needed: the coins
submerged in his liquid offering spelt a different,
more drastic prayer, here
drowning
far out the white-hot-shortness of debt.

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