Photo by John Williams (2009)






























The Wheel

They came at grey time
with morning not yet formed.
Two dozen uniforms.
By the time we’d rubbed away
the crusts of sleep
they’d already built the Wheel
near the entrance to the Tube.

Then the sharp rap on the door.
We didn’t know what spark
had fuelled the visitation.
An angry night worker, crying brat.
A gang of lads too loud.
We cowed ourselves in corners.

But they had spotlights.
Dogs barked.
Five chosen.
Four others marked
to turn the blades.

Slowly the Wheel moved.
Gathered speed.
Whirled until the bodies blurred.
It seemed like years
we watched in silence
until at last the motion ceased.

The uniforms moved in.
Unshackled bodies.
Four groaned.
One was still.
We propped the still one in the alley
next to the shed
where the scavengers wouldfind it.
Went back to bed.