Microwaving happiness

It’s not my own kitchen, nor
my own language, so making
mac'n'cheese means using
Google to read instructions
on the pasta packet, the
cheese label and microwave

settings in translation include
energy, medicine, middle,
defrost, thermal insulation
time/sad child, perplexingly
making me wonder if indeed
happiness can be microwaved

do the older women I see
bent almost doubled, lifting
swathes of recyclables onto
hand carts, securing mountains
of cardboard taller than
themselves, know about this?

close by in sleek black luxury
behind tinted windows lurk 
Gucci Ummas in designer shoes
parking on the pavement to
slip into buy freshly made tofu
slipping through swathes of steam

down the road further at the
oddly named Richmall, you’ll
find the older ummas wearing
faded visors and floral shirts
towing hand trolleys filled
with store-bought tofu

what if they all knew they
could microwave happiness
would they want to?


Ride like a local


I walk my granddaughter
up the hill to Daycare
over grates, cigarette butts
past plastic trash bags
she finds the asphalt
mesmerising, examines
every glinting thing
with perfect purpose
We wave to the lady with
the dog wearing boots
on all four paws and she
stops and waves back
people respond to a one
year old who cares that much
about them and they break
into wide happy smiles
Later on, I board the bus and
become angry at the teenager
head down on his phone
in the seat for the elderly
I shame this young man
when someone even older
than I am, boards, but all
I do is shame myself
the old woman doesn’t
want this young man’s seat
she’d rather stand than
lose her dignity to rage
At the pedestrian crossing
I am the only one fuming
as a man in a white sedan
edges over the painted lines
I swear at him, actually
out loud but no one hears
or cares least of all him
as he roars to the next lights
As a visitor in this city
I am the elderly anomaly
carrying the luggage of
my own petty prejudice
I’m learning to contain my
expectations of others, to
tilt my parasol to the sun
ride the bus like a local
an eye out for the glinting