so this is January now

A leaf of ivy that is larger than the span of an adult’s hand with all four fingers stretched, ready to claw. Then another, huge and flat and green and waxy. Middle of winter and the ivy is expanding over the wall, larger and heavier than ever before. Ivy to turn east London into a jungle, and that’s not a word I’m comfortable with. Yesterday, a pink rose as tight as a baby’s fist clung to the top of the skeletal remains of a bush in a front garden which you pass if you walk the back route to Blackhorse Road. In Liverpool, on Christmas Eve, women were shopping in flipflops, and the Elvis Presley busker was so hot he removed his quiff-wig and handed it to his wife on drums. The cats are still sitting on top of the neighbour’s shed after breakfast to absorb the heat of the sun. Still, I haven’t worn the leather gloves. Not once. Only woollen mittens that run half way up the fingers. The fingers. With a turquoise ring purchased on Portobello Road from a man who said he was from Afghanistan and was selling jewellery from Tibet. “It’s all from Tibet. Or Afghanistan. He makes it.” And he pointed to another man, who was standing beside a small card table covered in rings and earrings and bangles, blowing on fingers shaped like a small apple in front of his mouth. Like a cox’s orange pippin — and you don’t see many of them any more. Thoughts of a cocktail dress and a lounge suit before bed.

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