Platform Purgatory

Michael Nesbitt

I find myself in another phosphorescent station. The last train a memory. Lamp-lit sapling bulbs; the undergrounds composition. Tracks beneath translate the glimmery smut of lost tourists into cast iron code. For all rail replacement services report to the ticket office. Dancing on its own is the ticket machine, some sort of abandoned robotic wishing tree. Enter card. Error. Enter card. Error. Coin and card and receipt come streaming out like a falling stars arse. I think of Dad as the wishing ticket machine spits out its contents, just as he would his betting slips. I am brought back, as if memory has become something negotiable, to the cuffed hush between dim and dusk, where we open new ground between us. Cavehill, a mountain now absolutely in motion, observed by and acted upon by my father, my balanced force and my moment of inertia. There’s the Shore road, Son, that’s home. The sound of his voice in my head is co-opted and obliterated by an exonerated apology from Northern rail. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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