train of thought

stuck on a train in the rain boiling hot from the lack of air conditioning cannot open the windows and my tears are mixing with my sweat I don’t want to have to travel this isn’t the holiday everyone says it will be I’m not going to want to see the sights I wouldn’t have had to come if you hadn’t died and if it wasn’t for the lockdown I would have seen you so much more over the last year and the lockup may start again any day soon any hour any minute this isn’t Barnard Castle this is my life being diverted to celebrate your life with people I’ve never met and didn’t care for you as much as I do for all I know some of them are on this sauna they call National Rail such as that woman over there drinking Bacardi out the bottle she’s hiding in a “I ❤ Brighton” tote or the man tutting at her same guy as looked at me like I was going to take my mask off when really I was only wiping my face with it and if I could open the window I could lean out to cool down and maybe mix my own liquids with those falling from the sky and now that woman with the bag is coming over and I want to ask her if she really could ❤ Brighton as much as I ❤ you but no she isn’t coming over to check I am okay and lend a sympathetic ear or shoulder but she is asking me to stop sniffling as the driver comes over the speakers apologizing for the disruption to my journey and it is as though he is talking to me personally as I had my journey all mapped out you and me and we’d get married and have kids and live by the coast and now it is all interrupted by your death and he is the first person to say he is sorry

Hugh Allison is a writer who lives in London, England, but he will happily travel to anywhere with a theme park. Like the narrator of this prose poem, Hugh is often paranoid that people think he will be removing his mask. His other poems have been published in Poetry Plus, Riverbed Review and Departure Mirror.

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