Memory

 

Sounding off train stops, a slumped commuter,
up springs a school trip in clusters, sprouting
pockets of mischief mock the carriage,
chanting cacapito to Frère Jacques,
the floor-bound and womb-lost, ballast floating
past feet entrenched, leaflets for hair loss, sages.

The foliage is so thick I cannot
imagine a child’s first folio – experience
of what can be grasped without. The image
and the word are our hands now. Outside the pod,
another. They have not glimpsed the sky yet,
how it stretches down to shelter us, stages

wonder in the cloud scud, feeds us infinity
from its highchair. Lulled by the babble,
I huddle in myself, make this page the world.
A balloon of tuts and sighs ready to ignite
fills us, the train groans as at a bad joke, rumbles
onto the next page, disembarks the word.

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