the train ride – paul tanner

he sits opposite:
his head is round and grey
like a sick balloon
held down by the string of his tie.

I should slice his throat
and let him float away.
I know, I know: he’s a taxpayer. providing husband.
great with the kids. maybe
he never raped or murdered anyone
but my god,
the briefcase, the financial paper,
it makes me pity
the clichéd bastard.

we go through a tunnel
and I see my own reflection
in the window behind him:

a scowling hangover
in a supermarket jacket:
a working-class cliché.

my reflection, it leans over his shoulder,
whispers something in his ear …
and he lowers his paper
and smiles at me.

maybe I’m still a little drunk,
but I reckon I can take them both on.

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