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Dec 2016
A viaduct looms over my daily commute; trains rattle above.
I pass through its belly each day.
A canal ambles beneath one armpit,
Scrubland loiters under the other.

In the belly , glaring headlights inch forward towards their kin;
Metal, rubber and glass jostle for place,
Engines thrumming.
Shiny shoes pinch and stiff collars tighten;
Fingers start drumming.

On the indolent canal a barge floats serenely, fat fish meander and
Skinny - legged moor hens tiptoe through the reeds.
An old man in rough tweeds pokes his stick through the scrub land on the other side,
Searching for blackberries.

Lights change futilely; amber, green and red.
Engines rev and teeth grit.
The belly rumbles.

Ducks fly in and land on the still water of the canal.
They swim in formation under the bridge.
On the other side the old man sits to eat his fill
His fingers purple with juice.
Clouds scud, a breeze cools and the sun appears.

Collars stiffen, indicators tick, nails are bitten
As the cars inch forward.
The bloated belly heaves
As a few cars cross the border to meet another impasse.

Concentric circles appear on the surface of the water
And gnats flicker above it.
A family of coots sets out for a morning outing
And a kestrel hovers above.

Deep in the undergrowth field mice
Scurry away from the old man's boots.
Dry sticks snap under his heel
and the sun warms his thinning pate.

He takes the slow path through the undergrowth,
Meets an ancient lane
And strolls the familiar path home.
Written by
Mary Pear
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