Saturday, 5 November 2011

The imaginary museum in northern Albania

They come at me – and pass
like missed trains, failing
to stop on schedule, trailing
a line of lamp-lit heads.

Nothing is fixed –
or everything is –
and carriages rattle through,
with each secure in its own place,
then off, beyond the horizon.

At a crossing
on the Shkodra road
(with mountains for the horizon),
kids ran up to the brink
of the train they’d missed,
kicking hard against shale
and cascaded shard
to swing up and take place
in corridors juddering
at every joint in the rail.

Or perhaps that’s how I saw it.

At the fag-end of another long haul,
once again I’m only looking on
whatever might have been expected.

The sun glints,
the muezzin cries.
Further up the track,
the train reverses for the capital.

In the aloof vacancy of the ticket hall,
I’m assuming the next moment will occur.
The train backs out of the station.
This manuscript page stays blank.

November 2011.

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