The wind attempts to sweep away
autumn leaves even as I
crunch them underfoot.
Ivy clambers recklessly up the overbridge,
as if the constant rumble of traffic
is not a threat to continued exploration.
Roots cling desperately to eroding hillside
while a sparrow balances on a twig
decorated with dead flower heads.
A woman sings off key as she passes on my right.
The Auckland Town Hall, having heard better,
maintains rigid composure to my left.
Pigeons gather for a lunchtime briefing until
they startle. Fight or flight? They seem unanimous,
wings slapping air into my skin as they skim past.
A man asks me for food and I lie
with an apologetic smile that
uses only half my mouth.
The traffic lights turn red as buses
send out rumbling farts of
exhaust fumes countered a block later
by the overly sweet smell of sugar,
a solid match to the young blonde man in
the pink Rick and Morty sweatshirt.
A young Asian woman sniffs
behind her mask and I
pretend not to notice.