Week 30: Commuter, by P.J.Kavanagh


Deaf and dumb lovers in a misty dawn
On an open railway platform in the Dordogne
Watched each other’s hands and faces,
Making shapes with their fingers, tapping their palms,
Then stopped and smiled and threw themselves
Open-mouthed into each other’s arms

While the rest of us waited, standing beside our cases.
When it arrived she left him and climbed on the train
Her face like dawn because of their conversation.
Then she stepped down, grabbed his neck in the crook of her arm,
Gave him the bones of her head, the bones of her body violently.
Then climbed on again alone. Her face hardened
In seconds as we moved away from her island.
Tight-lipped she looked around for a seat on the sea.


A complex, beautifully observed poem: there is reticent compassion here but more than that an almost envious acknowledgment of an unshared intimacy.

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