Crust Bucket sits on the bus stop bench under a 10cents sky
as wind whips warm with hints of bin juice.
Some kids have knocked over the trash receptacle
Crust Bucket pegs his nose with dirt caked fingers
to avoid the stench.
Miss Down on Her Luck clops like a plastic horse.
but so is the bus.
Deep sigh of relief, of exhaustion.
Life =\= the picture books.
as her mirror
catches the dull light of morning.
Lipstick squiggled across pursed lips.
It’s gone off-road.
Scrub here, rub there.
Miss Down on Her Luck clicks away
her face and spots Crust Bucket
looking like a crumpled bin bag left out in a hurricane.
Crust Bucket scrapes across the seat
to make room.
What. Ah. Gentleman.
Miss Down on Her Luck would rather not,
Another gust of hot stink.
Banana peel? Mouldy sandwich?
Council workers don’t get up before 9am.
Shaggy Dog emerges from the bushes.
Bristled fur smeared with excrement.
Trots like it’s his birthday
to the upturned bin.
Hang Dog, slighter of frame and bow-legged,
scurries close behind.
The pair stick wet noses into wet,
sloppy trash and their hurried gnashing seems
perverse on that dour morning.
Crust Bucket grins that baby grand mouth,
missing a D# and an F.
Miss Down on Her Luck busies herself with an errant thread
on the cuff of her shirt.
To block it all out.
The bus is still
A triumphant woof!
Shaggy Dog has something.
A rat hangs limp from the mutt’s mouth like
a tired, old sock-puppet.
Crust Bucket hoots.
nips at the loose end of the rat
and then both dogs have it.
Stretch and twist.
Twist and stretch.
Miss Down on Her Luck forgets her errant thread
and watches the scene:
the dogs as they grunt and growl,
Crust Bucket slapping his knee with pleasure,
the upturned bin.
It begins to rain.
The sock puppet reaches
the absolute limits of stretchability –
tears in two –
squirts blood and guts and stinking juices,
like fat toes through punctured fabric.
A gleeful Crust Bucket.
The dogs lose much of the good stuff.
If they were anything other than dogs,
they might have been more
Miss Down on Her Luck watches those
dogs eating their measly fill.
Legs cock to mark the bin as:
“Property of Dog”
before trundling off into the bushes.
Miss Down on Her Luck peers down.
A red splattering of rat on the end of her boot.
a bad day.
The hot morning rain falls like
piss off a balcony.
Miss Down on Her Luck waits
for a bus that might never come
as Crust Bucket rolls a cigarette
and smokes it to the nub.
Words by Piri Eddy