Through a palm print is the view of a field where a ruined
Church fosters a tree. The sound of the train’s wheels
Clicks as I stare at the tree centered within the old stone walls –
Its branches spraying leaves out of two arched windows,
Its canopy neatly mushroomed, fully replacing the roof.
For a whole mile, the sight of this tree in that church,
The helpless goings away had seeded the hurt when
I stood helpless at my seat – upraised arm, palm pressed
Flat against the window, the train pulling out of Leeds.
She sat on a bench on the platform, her face – all the face
Of a face of love drawn, the train gently picking up speed.
For an hour, nothing else on my mind as buildings and fields
Morphed, as people embarked and disembarked and the morning sun
Filled the carriage with sleep. The previous night – not a wink,
Just wine and music, eyes lost like wanderers in each other’s.
Laughter woke me up after a station you could easily forget,
Five girls in school uniforms, no older than fourteen, stepped in,
Spoke loudly of giving head, debated swallowing or spitting.
Before then the train was running twenty minutes late, but now only fifteen –
And no real hurry, it’s spring, the first drug-warm sunny afternoon
With commuters buying beer and wine from the onboard restaurant,
Reading the papers as if it were a Sunday – bodies sprawled
Over lazy seats as though they were decked-chairs in their backyards;
Jackets, jumpers, cardigans and ties everywhere like Easter palm.
The sun now pushes through the glass map of my last wave to her.
A moment ago the conductor came into the carriage punching tickets –
Now all I hear are the metal kisses of his punch through paper; the sound
Connecting with the wheels of the train on the track that fades
As I stare at the tree in the church in the field in my palm.