By Matthew Rice

     for Z
call nothing beautiful glimpsed from a moving train,
because a train is always running through it.
— Zosia Kuczynska

Beautiful, the old steam train,
day-tripping between Larne and Belfast,
the benevolent pillar and post
of Saturday afternoons,
stopping by the local football match
where it idles for a few minutes,
panting, pure machinery, us
in cold weather running
among clouds of breath,
the pitch a Himalayan summit.

A hit-and-hope,
a once-in-a-lifetime ball
fathoming through blinding white,
has us two down,
everything coming clear,
our pain brief as the steam’s
ambient zeppelins,
labouring and beautiful.

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