A splurge on the back page

Or the back of a dismissive hand

Fragments

Unstructured. Half considered only halfway coherent

In response to something: the weather, a conversation overheard, a scene from the train…

The landscape appears smaller from the carriage at the back.

I expect it looms just the same from the front.

Egg box hills and pan scourer gorse,

Of course, I connect the whir with the washer.

Sand timer towers

Levitate on matchstick stilts.

Toothpick telegraph poles split and splinter

To grasp floating black cotton strands —

Connecting row upon row of identikit flatpacks —

Pre-scored, cardboard homes.

Roofs corrugating ripples through the monotony.

The cooler plume the only white

In a grey, rain bearing sky

Bored of its cloud’s-eye view of dull Winter fields.

A dog!

A glimmer

As small as his tag

And glistening as brightly.

Yellow gold.

A retriever.

A Labrador.

A Labrador retriever.

The train has neither time nor care

To stop. Or ask.

The glint is gone,

Miles and minutes behind.

Graffiti, approaching the tunnel mouth,

Speaks over and over into the dark

Nib of its tagline, blurred

By the politic of paint, integrity of mortar;

Scribe’s intent, gazer’s expectation…

Artistic empathy minds reputation.

Indecipherable ink

Blotted

in

margins

and on the Metro.