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Small Talk by Ross Thompson


Funny how neither of us chose to mention 
the mizzle lightly spritzing our shoulders
as we queued for a train long delayed
by - so the Tannoy explained - leaves on the rails. 

I thought better of drawing attention 
to the mascara trails inching southwards,
and you politely paid no heed to my fringe, 
serrated as a split seam and pasted 
to my forehead by the unyielding rain. 

I regaled the air, by now thick and grey, 
with tales of my inane day job while you
chatted about your neurotic dog then
slyly put up your umbrella: cherry red 
with a wooden handle shaped like a duck’s head. 

You winced as the wind blew it inside out -
canopy clapping in the gale like a sail, 
rib tape snapping and runners splintering - 
as I struggled to remain upright while 
the squall howled the loose words from our mouths.

---

Ross Thompson is a writer and Arts Council award recipient from Bangor, Northern Ireland. His debut poetry collection Threading The Light is published by Dedalus Press. His work has appeared on television, radio and the Poetry Jukebox alongside a wide range of publications such as Atrium, Dear Reader, The Honest Ulsterman, Lunate, Neologism, One, Popshot and The Trouvaille Review. Most recently, he wrote and curated A Silent War, a collaborative audio response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has been adapted by Northern Ireland Screen into a series of short archival films. He is currently preparing a second full length book of poems.

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