The Night Bird: cross-border train
tracking through the darkened Alps,
stars defining the mountain peaks,
a chain of moonlit cameos

coasting back along the line,
soon forgotten. In the dim
orange corridor we were lulled
by the constant clacking wheels

into words with a foreign
traveller, when a station
splashed us with light, making us
blink and grin. Your shadow lengthened

and turned - then stopped, halted by
my romantic customs point.
But smiling to the faceless suits
with their guns and official forms

that guard my paranoid frontier
you soared over, feathering
like the shadowless bird that skims
through the liquid night. Finding

this express line into my
affections, we shared a paper cup
of Savoy wine in a couchette,
toasting the dark touch.

Departing for love once more you know
the pointless sidings, the high fares
and the squeals of corroded iron
but still buy a one-way ticket.

Winging it, you showed me that
it doesn't matter that we can't
know when we'll arrive, or where.
For we are unseen migrant birds,

gliding silently across
the dormant world, as close and straight
as a pair of parallel tracks
gleaming into the sunrise.

Copyright © Jon Harley 2017