In the stillness of the stars, I count the knots in my braids;
Three or four tightly coiled ropes of black, twisting into a waterfall.
I am on the cusp of thirteen.
A group of thirteen teenagers playing tag, in the abandoned railway station,
The adults clutching their shawls and whispering over steaming cups of tea,
A fakir and his troupe of dancing monkeys,
An old haggard babe jee, dressed in robes of red,
A scandalous auntie lighting her cigar,
Orphan children chasing after pockets brimming with gold,
I sit quietly amongst all the hubbub.
Awaiting the next time I hear the sing-song choo-choo in the distance
The next time I clamber onto the green leather seats and awkward spaces,
The next time I rest my head in my mother’s lap,
The next time I see Shalimar Express scrawled in blood red,
My wayward self will have to wait,
Until the next journey home and away.