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.