Puffs of smoke try to escape the wide brim of his Stetson,
curling in the still heavy air.
They form spirals and coils,
writing messages in a strange alphabet.
I try to form pictures from the tendrils,
desperate for any glimpse of a future I seem to have no control over,
but all I see are white horses galloping across an endless blue expanse.
A tinny voice over the speakers,
“Just to confirm, this is NOT the Dundee train.
The Dundee train is the one in front.”
An older man in a high-vis jacket,
“Excuse me, miss, but the Dundee train is the one in front.”
Me, a surly girl with a Pikachu t-shirt, and a 50 tonne laptop,
“I’m not going to Dundee.”
A middle-aged WASP. I imagine she’s from Pennsylvania. I know she’s on the wrong train before she opens her mouth. There are no tourist destinations where this train is going.
“Excuse me, does this train go to Leuchars?”
I see her eying my red hair and try not to sigh,
“No, that’s the Dundee train. The one in front.”
“There is no train in front of this one.”
“Well then, I guess you missed it.”
During the period around the birth of Christ,
Augustus was Emperor in the West,
Ai was Emperor in the East.
Wars were waged and lost,
their armies lost to the sands of time.
But the moon of their sky,
is the moon of our sky.
He has kept alive the smouldering embers,
acutely aware of the fate that awaits him,
when the fire dies.
He can see their eyes glowing,
in the faint light of the sputtering flame.
And can almost feel their breath
on his neck.
The main centre of the thickest ice was the
Rannoch Moor – or that’s what we used to call it.
There was no point in names now.
Everything looked the same – white.
Everyone looked the same – desperate.
They used to tell us things would change.
But now they have no more words for us.
This DNA was inserted into the empty egg.
In the films, they would use a lightning bolt,
but nothing quite as dramatic was used here.
An electrical shock was all it took,
for one cell to become two,
two to become four.
For a new life to begin.
They came from Edinburgh, originally.
They were a good band: they played jazz and blues.
Jock on the piano, Billie on the bass.
And little Ian on drums.
They used to play in the dance hall before it was bulldozed.
Now, Jock lives in Spain, Billie’s in a home.
And little Ian’s in a pauper’s grave.