That night the train stopped on the way home,
in the middle of nowhere.
We had been in to see Julian Cope play
at the Academy in Manchester.
At one point he disappeared backstage
for a costume change
and returned wearing a matching outfit
of alligator print leggings and a sleeveless top.
From Manchester to Buxton on the train
we had one car all to ourselves.
And on the way home the train stopped.
The engine shut off and everything was quiet.
We were in the middle of the countryside,
on the way back to Buxton.
It was pitch black outside, one in the morning.
With the light on inside the train
we cupped our hands against the
cold windows and looked out.
All I could see was long blades of grass
growing on the high ridge outside the train tracks,
and the tracks beside us and in front of us.
I saw the driver walk out around the train
to see what was going on.
Maybe we hit something, we said to eachother,
or there’s something on the tracks.
We sat and waited, until the train started up again.
I saw one of my friends some weeks later.
It was summer, a sunny day,
and we were standing outside the chemist’s
on Cavendish Circle, talking.
She said she was moving to Dublin.
I could tell in her eyes maybe she knew
where I was going at 26.
She asked what I was doing next and I shrugged.
I was a little blindsided at the time and yet,
that was when everyone started to leave there.
I wasn’t from there, so I had a hard time leaving.