A Widower’s Commute

Taking part in the daily commute
meant he had a purpose; he was working.
He started taking the train so people could see 
him sat waiting at the exposed 
platform, and he copied their worried faces.

He tutted when he heard the announcers 
muffled voice explaining: the train would be late,
the train would be shorter, the train would not
be arriving. 
He perfected the folding of the Financial Times
so it would show only one
column. He made a point of not talking
to anyone, though he’d raise his eyebrows
every so often and nod his head 
as if about to speak.

The steady rock and rolling of the carriage 
was comforting and he envied those who
could stand there with their eyes shut, 
their bodies bobbing, following that movement,
not stumbling nor stepping on someone’s foot.
He liked the closeness of these bodies, sweating
in the packed, badly ventilated carriage. 
There was reassurance
in seeing the same faces: the world still continued 
and loss did not break you, make you forget
to change your underwear or wash your hair.

When his daughter popped round, always
at four o’clock on a Thursday,
he would rant about the hassle
of the daily commute.

Anything. Anything
so he didn’t have to think
about the empty, sunken chair
in the corner.

Copyright 2006 A Head/Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Like this poem? You can show your support by buying me a coffee @ https://ko-fi.com/amvivian or by buying one of my books (The Waiting Usurper, Asphodel Meadows, The Family Care.) They can also be borrowed via Kindle Unlimited.

Extracts are available on my website https://amvivian.com/


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