3rd March, 2016 (ever tried, ever late)

by Brendan Strong

i’m late! i’m late! and this is deadline day!
the deadline in question is on a train
and I am
fumbling for a bus,
waiting at the stop,
fidgeting.

waiting.
fidgeting.
waiting.
fidgeting.

i’m late! i’m late! is the bus even coming today?!
make a quick calculation –
head for the railway station?
no – there is another bus
due quite soon.
but i’ll need cash!
run to the shop where the atm is dead
the bus passes as i come out again.

i’ll head across to get the train.

i’m late! i’m late! the longest time is the time you wait!
outstretched compartments
gather us in.
get on the top one
to be there first,
seconds stopped counting down
started counting up instead.

you don’t know twenty seven minutes
until they’re stretched out in seconds on your wrist,
and the bus is already there.
and someone in an office is asking
“where is it? what is it?
surely it must be ready”
twitching in a luas line
surprised to see
so many junkies on a tram
waiting for nothing because
their deadline already passed.

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