Illegal parking at the hospital

Hard yellow lines form stitches beneath my car;
on the threadbare verge beyond the bonnet
drunken cones lurch forward, eager,
like a bleeding woman who wants to touch.

Red and white tape hangs like bandages
listlessly from iron spikes,
holding the crowds back.
There are no crowds.

Vehicles arrive now and again,
pause at the barrier,
which salutes, gets their attention.

Behind, the wounded buildings wait,
like patients, for some kind of operation –
a sting, perhaps, to net illegal parkers,
break bones or mess with minds.

Cameras swivel menacingly,
trying vainly to get to the heart
of the problem.

And I wait for someone to escape
down the dry earth between the trees
and say it’s all right, really,
parking here: we can go now.

Out of sight, someone dies.