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428th Weekly Poetry Contest winner: Crossfire

by T. E. Taylor

The station was too far to walk.  Too late!
I curse the cold and ask why Waterloo
in March is such a hostile place.
The rain is stronger now; it traps
the neon glare and brings these dirty
streets an unaccustomed sheen.  I huddle
in my coat and think of home: hot food
and soft sheets cosseting my skin.

Two sentries guard the road ahead;
two old men, hunched and withered,
hurling riddles at imagined foes.
Words tumble formless from their broken
mouths; I hear them smash like raindrops
on the path and wonder who threw out
the shells of these rain-blasted minds
and called them sane.

Finding no coin, I brave the crossfire
of their bleak, reproachful stares.
The rain rebukes me, angry wind
assails and savages my limbs.
They watch me pass, eyes vacant, lifeless
and through I hundred wounds I bleed
my shame
- that I have somewhere warm to sleep tonight.

See all the entrants to 428th Weekly Poetry Contest