The first time someone offered me a seat
on the Underground, it was a Hoodie who
if I'd met him on a darkened, empty street
I'd have crossed to the other side as he came into view,
worrying about being mugged. And number two
happened today, when a young punk female face -
plus studs - looked up when I got on, and smiled.
I couldn't think why, till she half-rose from her place.
Clumsily, I said no. Had she been my child
I'd have wondered what I'd done wrong, that she'd so defiled
her fresh good looks. But it isn't that why sticks,
or the jolt of suddenly seeing myself in their
green eyes, or the body blow to my politics
(Spectator preconceptions . . .). It's wondering where
such acts are catalogued, and if they share
the folder in the Cloud once labelled Prayer.
First published in Poetry Salzburg Review, No 27, Spring 2015