Night Train to Jaisalmer By Nicole Lee

Night Train to Jaisalmer

We totter through the marbled ticket-hall
a lofty pillared relic of the Raj all
dust and flies and movie-posters buying
peanuts from a tattered guy and trying
not to stare at the tumour on his nose
then counting down the carriages not those
please third class with fifty people packed
in twenty seats kids in the luggage rack
fowls beneath the bench and eau de sweat
the sole bouquet. If they could only let
some fresh air in but the window catch is stuck
and eyes like custard apple seeds sucked
clean multitudinous black and bright
pursue us down the platform until right
down at the end we find our sleeper
six bunks a single bulb shines on a heap of
mailbags and four moustachioed bravos
Enfield rifles on their knees the boss
grunts a greeting my husband tips a nod
we climb in sleeping bags fully clothed
doze rattling through the night no fear
alarms to wake at dawn in Jaisalmer

Nicole Lee was born in Kuala Lumpur and educated at Malvern and Oxford. She has worked as a banker in Hong Kong and London and now lives in Wandsworth, works in Kew and writes poetry. She has been published in various online journals and long-listed in the National Poetry Competition.

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