Roger Higgins

Friendly Street Poets

South Australia



They were hurried out by security guards with megaphones
and policemen with chest armour and automatics.

There is a suspicious backpack on Platform 3
beside the column at the bottom of the escalator.

They gather nervously on the street in groups,
families, classmates, strangers
with something important and immediate in common.

Stories are told of close calls,
of acquaintances lost and friends saved,
tales laced with “what if” and “if only”,
of planes brought down and crowds rammed by trucks.

These are the things we want to talk about now.

There are hurried phone calls.
Appointments are rescheduled,
neighbours are solicited to collect kids at school gates,
connections are missed at distant stations.

Some children play in the fountain
beating the heat and breaking the tension.

Some stand alone and pray.

Not us, not this time, not here.
Maybe it is a false alarm.
Better safe than sorry, eh!