Walking to the Train Station

Aliyah Begum

One day, you will notice the bluebird asthma pump,
Hear the birdsong vapour slice through grey fumes
And soothe the inflamed tarmac of these wheezing streets.

It hides in the tree, modest until it decides to sing.
Its plastic sapphire beak harmonises with the white noise
Of your earphones (only one side of which still works).
It dispels the grey haze that exhausts, but today
Its turbine wings clamour for your attention.

You step over the broken glass that shimmers beneath feet,
The drunk confetti outside the pub from last night.
But you miss the magpie sorting through the shards,
Clinking them into different recycling bins, unseen.

You see the mayonnaise outline of the discarded chips,
Ketchup packet exploded onto the pavement crime scene,
But not the goldfinch that wears her high-vis with pride.
She picks up the crisp packets from grass verges,
Before they reach the polluted depths of a local puddle.

You gaze across these pools of mercury,
And finally notice the world looking back.
Upside down and inside out, it pleads with you,
Asks you to take care of these streets you cross,
Your allotment in the garden of this unruly world.

But you don’t listen, distracted by the
Sound of an engine fading further away.
You have missed your train too.