round the corner

Denise is down. Flat on the floor. A cop kneels near her head. Dee, can you hear me? Dee? I wonder if I know her. I’m local after all. Do I know her? I say to the cop. If you do, it would be great. We’ve got to lug her home otherwise. I reverse up a few paces and bend down over Denise’s head. I tip my own head to one side, like a dog trying to understand human language, but I don’t know Denise. Sorry, I tell the cop, she’s not one of my neighbours. A few feet away, another copper is leaning on a neighbour’s fence. As I pass him, he invites me to share in a joke. I turn left by the primary school. A group of nine or maybe ten teenagers is exhaling on the corner. The smell of weed is so strong, I wonder if there’s a fire. Beneath the street light on Cariscourt Street, a soldier is marching. One – two – three – four – five – six – and turn. He steps up and down on the spot, turning, knees high, and marches away. Six steps just as before. The soldier is dressed in combat gear. No weapons that I can see. He (possibly she) is marching up and down, up and down, beneath the street lamp. I stand and watch until my head starts to nod.