The soldiers appear happy in the poster on the bus shelter I glance at on my way home. A phrase ‘This is belonging,’ drifts like a plume of smoke from a gun above the lads’ jolly camaraderie.
I remember something a friend once told me – a woman, burdened by shopping, was walking towards him and the Asda he was leaving. She’d been to a foodbank, she explained as he offered a hand.
Her man had belonged to a unit operating in Iraq. His benefits had been cut.
I think of that as I pass the shelter. It sits across the road from a high school like a trap baited with a slogan luring the young, as if this box to keep out the rain is a haven, whispering the sweet promise of belonging.
Ross Wilson’s poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including The Edinburgh Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and The Honest Ulsterman. His pamphlet, The Heavy Bag, was published by Calder Wood Press in 2011 and my his full collection will be published by Smokestack Books next year.