what began as year-long challenge has become perpetual until further notice
i use a passport booth
it’s a chance to sit
which is what they do here
curtains made of iphones and earphones
the daily mail, end-of-workday scowls
i’ve become so used to animated eyebrows
gestures of exasperation,
ever readying myself to catch alight
in conversation with strangers
on the train here i made a little bet
with how many would meet my eye
not a challenge, an invitation
eyes skimmed away from mine
the odd smile, then the rustle, busy face
look down, close eyes
stay inside or check the phone
the photos arrive
i see i’m getting older
i look better than i did in the old life
the language or perhaps the olive oil
is shaping me into someone tired-eyed
a little wiser
who i think i like more than i used to
so i go to the meeting point
where Em will find me
i meet the stare
there of the troubled man
tap-tapping his paper cup, incanting
through his belt-length beard
against the roar in his head
so stark there
in his stare that my acknowledgement
flickers brief as a swallow’s shadow
over a pond, my own curtain
drawing as i dissolve into train
times and other pretence
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