the trees and leaves bathed
in gold, my father’s favourite colour.
I always tell my children
yellow and orange are the happiest colours.
They rarely choose to wear either
and nor do I.
There are so many leaves on this line
a train cannot have passed through today.
I imagine the steamies
in the Thomas books I read so often
peeping, expressions never changing
as they chug along cheerily,
apart from Henry walled-up in his tunnel
and Bulgy trapped under a bridge
as punishments; my children claim
not to remember these stories.
The path alongside the railway
is half-buried like childhood memories,
I choose what to tell my son and daughter
as we crunch along,
breath hanging like clouds,
their smooth skin stuck to my own,
the sun lowering, the air smelling of rain,
the birds chattering except for a crow
trees like skinny teens from rival schools
clasping hands across the track.
The three of us pause to gather conkers,
my daughter likes those that have cracked open
as if in a desperate bid to leave home.
We take them for their granddad
who puts them in his hallway to ward off spiders.
—Published 28th of January 2024
About Sam Szanto