Monday, 10 September 2018


We're a couple of miles short of Northallerton
suspended in time; one train ahead of us held
at the station. In front of that, the one that hit her.

It's been two hours now.

They've brought in another driver to carry on;
police are still on the crime scene. Nothing moves.

12.15 pm.

Just before lunchtime on a Tuesday in September. What led
to such desperation on a breeze-blessed summer's day?

Trains back up in each direction, terminate unexpectedly;
coaches are laid on from York. Connections are missed,
flights take off with unfilled spaces, meetings cancelled,
funerals conducted without next of kin.

Rail companies reel as compensation costs clock up.
At home, or work, or at school, a seat stays empty.

Eventually, our train limps on, passengers over-
heated, impatience replaced by resignation,
two hours of their lives lost for ever.

Just two hours.

© Nicky Phillips

Suicide rate rises among young people in England and Wales

Nicky Phillips had poems nominated in 2017 for Best Single Poem category in the Forward Prizes and Best of the Net. Her first collection, Jam in Aisle 3, was published by Dempsey & Windle in 2018.