Lunch in Breclav, 1991

While the train gathers breath
to return there is time
for coffee underneath a long
and indecisive trail of cigarette smoke
in the not-so-grand hotel
where the waiters retain their pre-revolutionary
scowls even as they pass
between the swinging doors of freedom
and the monochrome photographs
of trees and water and loneliness
looking down from the walls
on these dusty afternoons
with lace curtains to filter
whatever news comes from outdoors
where change is changing yet
everyone walks at the pace
of the old days
to and from the forecourt
at the railway station where Gypsies
await each arrival with the promise
of something special
to trade beginning with the sunlight
they collect from the waiting room
tiles and offer for sale
to take home
duty free.




David Chorlton







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