The being between
Sip my too-hot coffee, fingers shielded by its cardboard sleeve;
balance my tablet on top of the half-open bag on my lap;
listen to the ghost of voices murmuring elsewhere,
rattle and creak of a whiny railbus.
It’s in the being between,
space flanked by here and there,
that thoughts seep up like bubbles in hot mud,
through the stones of my heart, through the steam in my head.
Fume of air, scooped up by the train’s mad transit, thrown back
against the glass; someone in front stands up, stretches,
wrestles the trembling window shut. A child cries,
somewhere behind. A screen lights up:
Next stop: Wombwell. Where you live.
Nowhere place, no one’s destination, none alight;
less than a town, not quite a village; weird name on a sign;
the warm, wet place we begin - the source of the water that winds us up.
And I’m not standing up. I’m still watching my tablet screen
flicker and fade without my finger’s pressure, listening -
distracted by the grumble and clatter of wheel on rail;
wondering what waits at home, what wild
whitewater words he’ll throw at me tonight.
And the train doesn’t stop; the name on the sign
flutters in my chest, a bird’s scrabbling claws, half-unfurled
wings, flapping and bent out of shape. The coffee I’m holding is cold.
It’s in the being between, the space flanked by you and him,
that thoughts leak like blood from a badly-dressed wound,
as I set the coffee cup on the quivering floor
and gather up my last few things.
Yorkshirewoman Louise Wilford has had around 100 poems and short stories published in magazines including Acumen, OWP, Orbis, Iota, Dreamcatcher, Tears In The Fence, Popshots, Pushing Out The Boat, The Stinging Fly, The Frogmore Papers and Agenda, and has won or been shortlisted for several competitions. She is currently writing a children's fantasy novel.