Boulevard de Magenta

Cheap wedding dresses,
Sharp white with plastic jewelled bodices,
Look like children’s dressing up clothes.
They gleam under the shop’s harsh lights,
Their newness unmistakable.
The brides excited by these dresses
Must be young.

Small groups of teenagers wait in
The doorways of rundown apartment blocks,
The buildings blotchy with soot.
There are forty or so groups on either side of the boulevard,
Their spacing even and deliberate.
All are wearing hooded winter coats,
Play-acting gangster,
They peck at passers-by.

Sinister at a distance,
It is their youth which disturbs most when close-
Some are as young as twelve.
It is the school holidays-
Next week many will be back in class.