‘At the Station’ by Imogen Forster

At the Station

For a moment, the sharp smell
of roasting coffee is like tobacco,
a time when the air in public places
floated carcinogenic blue
and men in overalls, forebears
of the two who are passing me now,
would give off a dark industrial reek,
as if they were fume-pickled.

One of them could be my Grandpa,
the dry, pencil-shaving sweat-scent
of his flannel shirt after work,
his fingers contracted into claws,
unable to grasp a tool’s handle.

And my father in his white coat,
a hospital aroma, memories of cumin and fennel
under the disinfectant, coming to meet me.

 

(previously unpublished)

 

Imogen Forster is a former university librarian, freelance journalist and literary translator, now living in Edinburgh. She is about to complete the first year of a part-time MA in creative writing (poetry), taught jointly at Newcastle University and in London, at the Poetry School. @ForsterImogen.