Driven Home for Christmas

I could hear her shouting from over the road
through the fences
and from behind my earphones,
wails of, ‘I need a home not a street to call my own’;
I’ve just bought a ticket back up north.

How am I supposed to fit Christmas into this suitcase again,
it’s ten minutes until I leave and I’m hardly packed.
Now and then
between bleaching the sink and hoovering the stairs
I think what else do I have to take.
                                                       Stop. Make a list:
     pare down the sock drawer into four nights adrift.
     hope you pack the wine, protect all two gifts.
     remember to smile, look like your present.
     gather those receipts, sift through the bin.

On the table seat
aisle, a girl holds onto her phone in hands that should be holding onto hands,
not be on loan to a glorified tin can and string attached to nowhere
no one,
spam email stings looking to stun you of your dollar.
A fella on the window seat opposite drinks from a bottle hidden in a christmas sock
blending in with crowd,
though his community spirit is clearing the nostrils of those around,
everyone’s sniffling like a blocked up spittle valve.
And the brass band in tinselled hats and grimaces sings what station is next, connections not to miss,
and I’m stood there holding onto my suitcase
reading what everyone else has already read,
keeping up with catching up,
standing up without a seat
facing a quiet carriage of Chris Rea extras driven home for christmas,
restless and ready for a familiar bed-
those memory foam ones that’ll throw them to the floor as they’re not the body they remember;
no amount of bucks fizz at eleven will cure them of that, I’m sure of it.

New Year’s resolution, number one of one:
find someone to hold my hand like it's sweet not slavery.