The platform outside waits chill,
in the hum of its vacuum
people walk, pass to and fro,
steps ricochet from dome to dome.
Penned in, we hear the rustling settle.
We have windows and corner seats in which to huddle,
A clammy heat is just bearable
but feet must not unfold or travel under any table,
tidy, they must remain quiet, like good children,
they must not fidget.
Elbows must not flap, eyes must not wander,
to sneak bewildered glances at
women in ironed dresses, pearled, nail-varnished,
with a book or a magazine.
Ladies who look unconcerned and disdainful
and ever downwards except with a sigh
they might look up and with their ebbing breaths thinkhow
long more must I endure, I am worn out, my skin is creased
and like dough, my glorious breasts lie jiggling on my swollen, solid belly.
Like moist mice we sit
with shiny, beady, dull eyes,
but nothing to suggest the sprinkling and drenching rawness of every other
The land lies telling us secrets,
we don’t slow down,
the tractor churns the clay and puffs
and we speed by.
Resting cows that ignore us,
draped on green, thinking.
They have their own lives to live.
They ponder and remain
A man on a chimney, a man that stands out, up against the grey sky,
where are the chimney-climbers on this train?