Late Night ATM

3.00am.
I can’t sleep on debt
Or an upset stomach.

So I set off
Towards the nearest ATM
Under an imperfect slice
Of a brilliant moon.
No more buses or trains.
The traffic flows smoothly now
Like thinned blood
On a weak pulse
And a weaker assumption
That no one would cross
At this witching hour.

I reach the bus interchange.
Fully lit and guarded
By two elderly men,
One sleeping,
The other flipping through
Yesterday’s news
Waiting for his turn on the bench.
I make my withdrawal.
I’m not alone.
The beeps from the machine
Then from another machine
Are shrill cries
In the dead of the night
Like calls to predators
Hungry for easy cash.

I shuffle along
Towards the safety of home.
And I’m still not alone
At this unfamiliar hour.
As strangers cross my path
I wonder
If they’re friend or foe.
If they are returning late
Or leaving early.


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