Standard Class by Holly Magill

No room in the main carriage for me and my case so I’m wedged
by the doors with a bloke in an Arriva waistcoat, his trolley blooming with
Quavers, Mars bars, paper cups, and urns of boiling water. Gelled head

leaned against the wall, he closes his eyes, as our bodies sway to the
rhythm of this train we both know so well. Nose to the window by
necessity as much as drawing last brine to the eyes – for now – I don’t

see the ticket guy at first. They said I could get off at Colwyn Bay,
Trolley Lad says, and they laugh. Or Rhyl. More guffaws. Nothing left
on that trolley if you turned your back five seconds – it’s the drugs.

Train rolls on – Prestatyn, Flint, Chester… Trolley Lad disembarks there,
along with half the train. Holiday park season, innit, he shrugs, waves
ta-ra to his mate. I can get a seat now, a spot to stow my case.

Was Colwyn Bay I’d boarded – does that make me suspect, my bags
to be stuffed with filched cokes, UHT milk, sweaty sandwiches,
and coffee sachets the moment I’m left unsupervised? Incomer

or leaver – and I’m pretty much both these days – guilty for
crisps not even nicked, too nervous now to ask the new Trolley Lad
if I can buy a cup of tea. Just want to go back to where home might be.


Holly Magill’s poetry has appeared in numerous magazines, including The Interpreter’s House and Bare Fiction, and anthologies –Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press) and #MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology (Fair Acre Press). She co-edits Atrium – Her debut pamphlet, The Becoming of Lady Flambé, is available from Indigo Dreams Publishing:

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