Surfacing at 1am, she’s taken by surprise. Last time she came this far inland it was all hedge and larksong.
The factories have been and gone, their poisons spent. The basin is a citied silence. Leaking lock gates, lamplight drunks.
The lamplight drunk is not at all surprised. He understands that she has lost her way. He has faith in fairy tales.
They both lament the passing of lost loves. She combs the condoms from her hair. He sits on a bin and sings to her.
He slouches into sleep; she slips into the lock but on the coping stones she leaves a shell so he can hear the sea;
takes in return his can of Special Brew. She holds it to her ear sometimes, and listens to the roaring of the trains at platform 2.
Jo Bell is a poet, performer, playwright and promoter, and is the director of National Poetry Day. She also co-programmed Ledbury Poetry Festival 2011, and is an occasional broadcaster on Radio 4. She lives on a narrowboat and is the Poet Laureate of Canals. This poem features in the first Bang Said the Gun poetry anthology from Burning Eye press (www.burningeye.co.uk).
Well Versed is edited by Jody Porter. Read more here.