March 2019

Back to Issue 5

it was sudden, it is always sudden

By Jennifer Compton

platform 1 flinders street station


the way the people reached and screamed

the way they screamed and reached


a frieze of people on the platform

one arm —  and only one —  outstretched


a woman shouted — NO!

from deep from deep from deep


some decades later—

the adrenaline rush manifests


as a stately parade

of oddball facts


spanning years —

the sound


something between a smash and a crunch

loud, yes, very loud, and mortal


what, and out of the corner of my eye

had that been a flutter or a falling?


a simple second later

i find


i have run sideways

slap up against the brick wall


this is what i do, it seems

to not see


i say —  am so sorry to a teenage girl

collapsed into her mother’s arms


at the top of the escalator

a stiff-backed silhouette nods at her man


two little chaps crimp their fingers

their father kneels and gentles them


and then the sirens

coming from all directions at once


how vivid are the colours of this ordinary day

the coffee and the cigarette are perfect