Little remains at track.
Creepers, winding where
              the graded bed has grown so dank and soft
it sponges at my toes.
I sift the ballast, lift a stone,
             a sour-milk stem
clings to its crevices,
clasped in a veinery of roots.

Sections of supporting walls
remain at street level.
The paint flakes scab under my fingers.
The sun scrambles for the girders
and gridlocked cars reverberate.
Their drivers are silent.
The blackened bricks leave crumbs
           on my clothes.

Shortly before electrification.
When I was young.
I curled my fingers off my ticket-stub
and caught the slipstream
of the shunting carriages.
I smelt soot in my hair for days,
sour as fear.
You never looked

Fiona Wright

Fiona Wright’s new essay collection is The World Was Whole (Giramondo, 2018). Her first book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for nonfiction, and her poetry collections are Knuckled and Domestic Interior.

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