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  • Writer's pictureTony Frobisher

The Seats Are Empty

The Seats Are Empty

The seats are empty. The 10:08 to London. Grey-upholstered comfort Extra clean and disinfected as The train, passenger-light, rushes Its way through Worcestershire's Autumn green-scape, where the leaves Are turning and the leaves are falling and the leaves are decaying In an indistinguishable blur of colour. I could grab a fist full of autumn through the reinforced glass, Smashing the window with The hammer that rests temptingly above my seat. Go on smash it! I get that urge to do something I've never done, Nor wish to... OCD...smash it...OCD...smash it...OCD...smash it My brain joins the wheel rhythms. Go on smash it! I can't. I used to work for the railways. Otherwise I might and Give the virus an escape, So I can take off this mask. Smash it-take it off-smash it-take it off The train beats faster and outside autumn blurs to a bokeh painting

My mask rests irritatingly on my face But it has to be. The seats are empty for a reason. I could stand in the vestibule, Window down, drinking in the deep Autumn smells of fresh rains and foliage. Stood by a loud-sign that SHOUTS!!! 'Do not lean out of the window!!! Whump, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh whump. An on time reminder as the Great Western from a distant Paddington flies past The air is Doppler sucked and spat out in a Few seconds of speed and noise. The clickety-clack clickety-clack clickety-clack resumes its soothing rhythm as I walk back to into a carriage-void where The seats are empty. The Covid Express has sent the commuters Rushing to their home-desks..., de-trained...and re-trained To the new-normal. No more station-dash...misery-faced...morning-crushed... hotel-destinators...crumpled-stressed-got dressed in a rush-suiters No more wish-I-wasn't-here-thinkers. But now they aren't here and the seats are empty The next station is Oxford But the seats are empty And it feels as if only I get off.

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