The tram stands and spits at Attercliffe:
its litter of chicken shops and strip clubs,
the close testosterone swell of spliffs.
Three skids get on, a duffer from the pub,
a bulling woman huffing a buggy,
another son behind: fluffy, gawky,
a long drained face and limbs. A black
tracksuit top, bottoms lit by white socks.
He stands by his mum, sniffs, against the rail,
absorbed in his chewed-up book: How to Care
for Your Giant African Land Snail.
Three grey minutes to Nunnery Square.
He zips the book in his top, gets in line,
slips out thinly into the dissolving rain.
Iain Twiddy studied literature at university and lived for several years in northern Japan. His poetry has appeared in Stand, Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, and elsewhere.