(Written in March)
In the beginning, she tried to follow them.
Onto their trains, bandwaggoning
their homeward trajectories,
as she clutched the flagon's worth
of wine to her side, through
the thinning canvas bag
slung drooping across her shoulders.
She hovered, like a waiting
acquaintance, in a deflating
social encounter, ignored
and unworthy of introduction,
an awkward loose thread hanging
off the structured blouse of a
housewife, noted and
dismissed with irritation.
She would open her mouth wide
like a post box slot,
issuing forth all she had received
in unstamped, authentic gibberish.
Want some wine?
When they shrugged her off,
she learnt. Learnt to sit
next to silent consumers in Burger King,
learnt to pick the ones
who were least likely to shoo her away
with an irritable scowl,
most likely to permit her presence
for a few precious moments
Want some wine? she said, foot nervy
and fettered at Waterloo.
I wish my lazy compassion
had proved me more worthy,
when all I can say,
to this woman with the mad croaking laugh, is
Did you have a good day?
[Now this is as far as I've got. It could go on with "As she hunkers off, da da...", I'm not sure. We'll see.]