Amidst the Butterfly Koi


I trade fresh, country air like copper coins for curling fog, taking that first, deep breath until it wraps around my lungs. 

It settles into my clothes, a memory of exhaust fumes and subway heat, now woven into the threads. Within ten minutes I become a sardine, one in a sea of many. 

Everyone s 



 s out like beans from a can when we arrive at Euston. I escape at Bond Street. 

Phones buzz, merchants holler. It’s familiar when it isn’t. A woman stops me, asking where she might find Selfridge’s. ‘I don’t know,’ I reply. ‘I’m not from here.’ I cross the road, turn back, and run to the woman again. I remember the general direction to this store; I had been there just yesterday, the common sardine amidst magnificent butterfly koi. 

The woman thanks me when I tell her, turning the other way. I cross the road feeling lighter, happier, weaving between people, and turning back and forth, back, and forth, while Google Maps sends me this way and that. 

A park filled with mud is found after a twenty-minute walk, revealing to me an unimpressive landmark that had once been Hyde Park. It is still Hyde Park, except diggers and plastic fences now line the way, the scent of nature’s destruction clinging to my skin. 

Couples still walk beneath trees while joggers take over pathways and cyclists man the bike lanes. Dog walkers take their time, appreciating the calm away from narrow pavements and screeching cars. Despite the barriers that now riddle London’s Oasis, solace can still be found in this dirt-riddled wonderland. 

A twelve-minute walk becomes twenty-five minutes; Google Maps does not like this change, but I cannot walk through a plastic fence and stand against diggers. I resume my journey, much to my map’s dismay as it judders against my screen. 

Soon I am returned to a metropolis of shops, the pathways littered with butterfly koi once more. Every now and again, I find a sardine like me. 

I check my phone; time is running out. I subway hop again, cloying heat a now familiar taste upon my lips until I find myself at Kings Cross with an hour to spare. 

I wait. 

And wait. 


And wait, fixated on the board 

Counting down the minutes until I can board. Then, it flashes on the screen: Platform 8.

I make my way towards Carriage B, weaving between suitcase warriors and scuttling dogs. Even in the busy afternoon there is order to the train; it is unlike the subway, packed and jostling with life. Nobody stands, clinging on for dear life. 

Instead, we sit, orderly and at ease. There is no rush. The desire to push and pull and trip our way out of the subway doors now a memory, lost to the fog. 

In this carriage we are all sardines, waiting to go home. 

The train stops at my platform nearly two hours later. We trickle out like a leaky tap and d 






                                                                                        e onto quiet roads. Cars crawl by at their own pace, highway traffic now a memory of the past. I leave the station and take a breath; the smell of cabbage fields permeates the air and I feel the fog in my lungs begin to lift. 

I am no longer amidst the butterfly koi. 

The rain wants to fall until the clouds crumble above me. I make my way home, past the quiet riverbed and familiar ducks. I count the static cars that line a sleepy road and step onto a tree lined path, not unlike the ones found in Hyde Park. 

I unlock the door, London’s scent no longer sewn within the threads of my coat when I step inside, finally home. 

Not for long, I remind myself. Only for a few weeks more. For now, though, I am back. 

Back to my city of skyscraper boxes, ready to c 





before I’m ready to pack.

Kelly-Mae Matt hails from the rainy planes of England and is a recent graduate in Creative Writing and Publishing at a Masters level. Usually a writer of micro, flash and short fiction, Kelly-Mae’s works have appeared in Fiery Scribe Review, Haunted Words Press, and Thanatos Review, among others. When given the chance, Kelly-Mae will escape the world through their words and flitter with the fairies, or travel from the verdant countryside to more concrete pastures.