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Always the same age on trains by Tiffany Atkinson

Buddleia rusting in the sidings

like an old explosion In

each thwack of speeding glass

the same white eye and overbite

as when you were twelve

just your fringe

with its different declensions

and buddleia doing the can-

can How long have you lived

in a railway cutting with a tilted

row of solar panels water towers

one dilated estuary two boys

on foot with a cigarette the air-

dropped gold of a field and

buddleia giving the paper on

marginal gains Buddleia quietly

fracking Buddleia speed-dating

all of you facing so straightly

Buddleia’s microphones mobbed

and bobbing Buddleia jinking

the yarrow sticks nobody loves you

Buddleia shaking its tacky cortège

Look how they travel the other way

grinning and swiftly Buddleia as

guru saying well it’s okay it’s okay

to be both fully grown and quite

uncharismatic Buddleia putting its

foot out O alight take all your longings

with you it’s as good a place as


Tiffany Atkinson's most recent collection, Lumen (Bloodaxe, 2021) was a Poetry Book Society recommendation and winner of the Medicine Unboxed Creative Prize. In 2022 she received the Cholmondeley Award for Poetry. She is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she is currently working on a book of essays about poetry and embarrassment.


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