A Break in the Weather

I met the under 18s
European Girls’ Ice Hockey
Champions on a traffic island
tonight: it was that

one on the corner
of Buccleugh St
where the crossing takes
ages, hours can pass.

They spent the
time savagely thumping each
other on the shoulders
and singing a song

by Selena Gomez.
Each one was giant
and raucous
and wore a padded anorak

emblazoned with
a jagged lightning bolt.
Thin passers-by gawped,
shrivelled into wet doorways

to watch. Such a stunning
crew was never assembled
on any traffic island
in history.

I was expecting a slow
walk through puddled streets
as always,
lukewarm drizzle,

buses, rain pocked
street lamps,
but instead Dumfries
stood on its ear

as if a keel had grounded
on the old shale
of the Whitesands,
and unloaded life.