Bus Station Reaper
One of those startled May mornings,
spring just about catching on to herself.
He’s stuck inside by a cardboard stand.
Top of the creaky bus station escalators.
Superdrug and the fruit and veg place,
the one that’s not been there for years.
Upright sentinel – bold man in black.
But not Will Smith or Johnny Cash.
Smile on loan from the Cheshire Cat.
Palms clasped, cuffs peeping pristine.
Suitably suited and booted. I don’t
buy it – whatever it is he’s selling.
I swerve an eyes-down panic-zag
through tired formica tables spilling
like ingrained tea-stains from the café.
Fumble my bags, my phone, look busy.
“No thank you” poised on my tongue.
He’s got broad shoulders – can’t help
but notice. And that smile, Cheshire,
but not cheesy. Still Cheshire-ing me.
Like he knows things. Really sees me.
Cynicism slips: I glance, snag his eye.
“Funeral Plans – will you rest assured?”
He winks. I remember I am very late.