The 8:28am to Mansfield

His pocket coughs up
a torn out crossword from yesterday’s Metro.
His fingers stretch. His pen lid yawns
off the nib. His stomach braces itself
for the sweet chilli chicken wrap
his hand must’ve picked up
by mistake or as a cruel prank.
His phone sits next to a Costa coffee cup
and talks about the Rugby League,
the passionate commentary
mingles with 5 Across and 9 Down in his brain.
He cracks his neck and nods
at the tired man on the seat opposite him
wearing an optimistic floral shirt blowing kisses
at his confused son on the platform.

© Carl Burkitt 2022

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