William Stephenson





You watch his punch-bag uvula
quiver as the air he snores tries
fresh combinations: left hook, jab,

lunge.  A word search lies part filled
in his copy of Puzzler Collection;
celebrity names cartouched in ink.

His forearm hairs, erect in the cool
conditioned air, flatten as they press
the wrist of the woman beside him.

Her head nods to the carriage’s pitch
as if she’s saying Yes to the universe.
They are dreaming together in public.

The train slows.  Sleepers appear,
dividing the gravel’s blur.  Frames
in the rattling tail of a spool of film.

The PA chimes. Wigan next stop.
You look back.  Two vacant seats.
They’ve migrated, cranes to Canada.

On the platform they zoom away,
arms linked in a figure of infinity.
When you alight leave nothing behind.




William Stephenson‘s poems have appeared in Anon, Envoi, Iota, Magma, Orbis, The North and The Rialto. His pamphlets are Rain Dancers in the Data Cloud (Templar) and Source Code (Ravenglass).

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