One night in Auckland

On Queen St, scattered revellers, hair flattened to scalps, skidded up the wet pavement, past the homeless. I asked one man, Sonny, how he ended up on the streets. His voice was so soft I could barely hear his response, his eyes not once meeting mine: “First I was home, and then I was here.” Fabio, a kerbside philosopher, was asking passers-by for a lighter. I fished mine out and he lit his smoke. He was Brazilian. I asked him what he was doing in New Zealand. “I’m so lost in life that I came here, you see?” Queen St was wet, almost abandoned, distinctly purgatorial. I could certainly see.