Packed in tight, stomachs sucked in,
eye contact studiously avoided,
earphones lock us into private worlds.
A shaven-headed man cops a tickle
on his neck, whips round
brow full of what the fuck,
only for a butterfly to hop away,
stopping briefly on the tattered spine
of a sweaty woman's book.
High on flight, the butterfly flits
through the seething tin-can carriage,
a smirking jester joshing at our shoulders,
featherlight fingers tapping on our backs
until an old woman with a leathery smile
crowbars open a window slit
and the butterfly tumbles out.
With that the train reaches
its final stop, and with a belch of metal
disgorges its flock, and we zip through
the station, across the road,
into the city's cocoon.