The Train Poem

He was waiting for a station just like some people wait for trains.
Michelle Shocked

The Train Poem is an initiation rite for the boys.
The rhythm of the wheels will repeat a lover’s name
or lull him to dream into amnesia that bastard last line:
the sharp knife which should by rights have sliced him
a piece of the big time.

He falls in love with girls swaying to the buffet car.
They glow briefly at the tip of his focal length
as a leaky biro telescopes them onto dirty paper napkins:
busy words dividing, breeding. These boys
have a distinct and complicated way of feeding.

Sliding past perfection, his mind’s shutter clicks
as if the window itself had blinked. Another future blooms
in a delay’s oasis, its life fluttering petals of minutiae.

He uncouples himself deliberately to share a smoke
with the ghosts of coal and steam, while the last hiss
of her breath escapes softly from under the sleepers.