Crocodile in the Underground

A skein of children in neatly matched pairs,
name-tagged, wearing luminous baldrics
and carrying shiny identical satchels, tittup
side by side behind their class teacher,
overseen by a motherly rearguard.

A lag-behind skitters to catch up, huffing
and puffing. Head full of stories, he had almost
made off down a tiled passage, hearing his own
Pied Piper in the dust-balled, rat-busy tunnel,
the distant chorus of clatter and rumble.

Brought back into line, quietly admonished,
he keeps his secret, his charm against boredom,
this new sense of himself as a separate person.
He looks unchanged and only seems to be
the boy who left home this morning.



Imogen Forster has been writing poems for the past seven years, having spent too long doing other things. In 2017 she completed the MA in Writing Poetry at Newcastle University. She lives in Edinburgh and tweets @ForsterImogen