Cowley Road, 4:30 pm

Sometimes Simon & Garfunkel is the only suitable soundtrack. Even when the sky isn't cloudy. Today it's a wide sheet of azure that the Mediterranean would be jealous of. I like the way the building across the street, made of blackened red brick, slants, moves away from the Cowley Road at a precise angle. The graffiti scrawled in white, below the beetroot window frames: Total Texaco Fuel Oppression in Burma. A poetic structure, as I sit here listening to the hum of ice-cream eaters, smelling burnt toast. Watching balding man in an army-green coat, brown leather brogues, smoking. Joined now by a woman with black hair and black boots. She's taller than him, but they're both made in miniature, fragile, transient beside the brick. Three girls, one in pink, one in blue, one in green, passing by. The delivery bicycle with its vast basket, shiny silver bell (I'm reflected in the domed steel). The shadow of this building is slinking up the side of the one across the road. Stealthy springtime: before you know it the sky will darken and the evening will dawn, the drunks will come out to play, the chill will slide back into the air and the dark hairs of you thin arms will stand on end, soldiers at attention, reminding you of a photograph taken at that September party, when you wore the jacket of his uniform over your sleeveless dress and leaned against somebody's garden wall.