One of the school children coughed,
a visceral gurgle, exploring
the echo such a sound would make.
The rustle of an anorak as his friend
nudged him, a soft swoosh as he
lowered his gloved hand, trying
to resume his watchful pose.
Several cars went past. They might have
slowed, I couldn't tell, but at least
there was no insistent throbbing from
the radio, no distant bass booming
from within the captive space. Perhaps
they had turned the radio off, or
perhaps the radio was silent too.
Overhead, branches swayed, the breeze
lifting the few remaining leaves, pressing
them to drop, die at last. A gentle airborne battle,
sending the survivors scuttling, diving from
their lofty positions to crackle to powder
underfoot, the annual explosion of colour
reduced to compost.
There was a crunch of gravel as the
lady from the Legion shifted
her weight, angling one arthritic hip
without any creaking that we could hear,
though I saw the wince of pain
explode across her face, shattering
any illusions about survival.
Someone must have looked at their watch,
or silently counted hippopotamuses.
The two minutes was up.