Light-hearted heartache in Venice Station
In Venice Station, expecting a
Pleasantly late train to Padua,
I stand with my thumbprint of coffee and
Inspect the too-many standers-by, wait
For a smoker with hair like a car advert
To unfurl a skin, tap twice, look up around
Behind expressionless shades with a shady expression,
And perhaps tomorrow wait for a train.
I stir a half-spoonful of black out of
Some quasi-distraction, an actual
Effort not to be looking for a train or anything,
Or the inconsiderately beautiful Italian.
A text: “I’m here in heaven without you.”
The bitter-sugar layer of espresso dreg
Flung back like a funny little laugh;
Returned to a platform, the early train is caught.
Another had passed by.
And I’m holding the whole bar, station, island
In my hand and asking: please, please stay.
Unlike with a beautiful work of art, a beautiful person you discover on the street is seen once, glanced at for a furtive second time, and is exquisitely and achingly gone forever. They are a passing thought. Their grace, finesse and unapproachable gorgeousness will not be approached again. This in itself is beautiful. Trains are particularly romantic in this respect.