Bus train bus

1. Fuse

White lights in ash
trees in a community
green space remind me
what that week did.

I see the mechanics
now because I’m in the
front seat of the
upper deck of the
97 with the

lego brick of the stop bell a
childish comfort
gentle in my hand.

Filaments of the closest
bulbs are marked
like sights of guns.

What makes that gentle
light is the gentle
hold of one copper
nucleus on one copper
electron.

I love you, says
the copper nucleus
to the copper electron, and
lets go.

 

 

2. Vending machine

Two minutes before the train.
The vending machine stands in the dark,
its illuminated interior the mid-yawn
of a cat; its exterior giving off an air
of local council owned street furniture.

Post box, phone booth, grit bin, bollard,
traffic light, public toilet, bus stop:
Two minutes before the train.

In the dark, the silver in my purse
already looks like the kit-kat tin-foil
I’ll be left with.

The man in front puts in Β£2.
The flap at the bottom spits the coin
plosively out and with a metal clank.

The coin hits the platform
after a parabolic fall.

The man repeats the attempt twice,
the light of the machine picking out curls
in his hair as he bends to retrieve the coin.
They are lit sallowly, like the coils
in the machine, and the lighted space
between his shoulder-blades
has the grotto-like gloss of a packet of crisps.

On the fourth attempt the coin
zooms violently out and down a crack in the platform
no wider than this line.

 

 

3. The bus broke down at the waterworks roundabout

Patterned like the ridged wet
sand that lies filigreed in the wake
of receding sea, its windows
ceased their misty lightshows
as no lamppost and no traffic light,
no restaurant sign, no fast
food joint could now slide past.

Its own lights fluttered like
that pigeon who could not
be certain, even as she
believed
your stepping
near to her presented
no danger, that she was safe.

The sunny yellow
of the posts and rails
turned ochre.
Fifty dust blue seats
exhaled fifty
dust blue sighs.

The driver’s struggle
to revive the bus
produced
bitter, shuddering cries
that rattled, blinked
out
momentary
tearful lights,
then died.

The bus had broken down at the waterworks roundabout.
There was nothing to do; they left it by the road.

Stepping onto acorns,
the passengers took mobiles
from their pockets which
shone, lifejacket lights
on the edge of the
roundabout, and they
waited

beneath the concrete contrails of flyovers.
They waited where the bus had broken down.

The oak trees waited behind them, full of autumn,
backlit leaves like jigsaw puzzles tipped out on the sky.

 

 

Jo Davis’ poetry has been published by PN Review, Bad Betty Press, Under the Radar, Strix and The Mays, among others. She is currently a guest editor of Tentacular magazine.