Jumping Trains

Jumping Trains

They call this room, ‘The Pod’.
Outside. It’s slatted, curved. A brown tortoise shell.
Inside. I distribute Mirtazapine, Tramadol, Methadone
to the rapists, murderers and others. 

Sometimes it is silent. Sometimes we will talk. 

Yesterday morning I was with ‘Y’.
He takes a cocktail for his brain, his bones and back.
There is no family, no money, no hope of staying.
‘Y’ thinks he is set for Rwanda, or a return to a prison cell.
No one seems to care. Often, he sits alone weeping in the garden.

I ask him about his journey. From Eritrea to West Yorkshire?

“I jumped a train at Calais. Under the tunnel in the cold.
At home jumping trains was easy. Town to town, track to track.
It was as simple as tying a shoelace. As natural as taking a step.”

‘Y’ says other parts were not so easy. 

“Eighteen days walking through the desert. 
Sixty men. Women, children and dogs.
Eighteen days and eighteen dead.
Starved, dehydrated, slashed or shot.
Days and nights without an end.”

Someone in the lounge is coughing.
Someone’s knocking on the door.

“Yes, jumping trains was easy.”
I note his right foot has only three toes.



◄ There is Still Time


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Stephen Gospage

Sat 10th Jun 2023 14:59

Poem of the month, at least, Ralph. A blast of honesty and compassion about a shocking situation. The last line stops you in your tracks.
Well done to you.

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Fri 9th Jun 2023 16:21

Really powerful poem. Thank you Ralph for sharing these stories of suffering. In the listening and the telling, there is compassion. Much appreciated.

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