Friday, 12 October 2018

there and back again

There and back again

Mam walked with me to her brothers
across the wasteland 
where the works had been;
where their lives lay in the mortar
between the blue bricks, fallen now;

and the railway’s rusty rails that curved
and disappeared under a blank door/fence. 
How strange is that? I always thought.

And we walked through the small cemetery 
and out through the back gate to freedom
into the face of the low gunmetal sun, 
long and wane upon the rushed stream; 

and we walked the rough road
past the lorry driver’s cafe lit bright,
with the jukebox singing the steam
down the bacon windows.

The old single-decker bus had stopped
where no one usually got off,
but she knew the short cut across
this rough way. She knew so many things
did my mum, with the wind under her scarf 
wrapped close to her head and 
my little coat buttoned tight 
to the late winter, hand in hand.

There was a chip shop the other way back 
under the railway arch, where the rissoles 
steamed until the bus came and licked
my fingers all the way home to dad;

and I told him about the dead railway, 
and he said time for bed, 
and mum tucked me in,
and I dreamt of the ghost train 
riding through the fence 
all the way to morning.

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