Mainline Rail

Back-to-backs, some of the last,

and always just below the view


a sunken tide of regular sound

west to the river, south to elsewhere,


and sometimes we travel together

as I slink into their sleep whilst I sleep,


settle beside a mother with a child

coiled in her lap, click-clacking


into darkness, coming heavy,

pushing at the edges of the carriage.


And sometimes the track returns us

on the late train to the end of my bed


luggage in one hand, my jumper in another

until they fling themselves


out of the open window,


flit though the ivy, the nettles and wire

to meet the fast train home,


waking in a stuffy carriage,

an image of my room in their eye,


the tone of the city in their ear,

in the thrust of the train’s rush


towards the sea and out of here…



 is the author of Andraste’s Hair (2007) and Eliza and the Bear (2009). She lives in Liverpool.



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