Underground Shadows

The man sitting next to me on the tube
Was a hit man for the mob
Small, wiry, like a ferret
Fierce dark eyebrows
Italian maybe but more likely Corsican

The man opposite knew
But made no move
Looked like a stockbroker
Or a banker, trained to look like
Anyone
Who knows, he just watched

Watched the bouncing American too
Big, loud, plaid trousers
Trying to be the tourist
He was no tourist
Ku Klux Klan written on his forehead
Plain as day
Recruiting on the tube like the Jehovah’s

Big black man standing by the doors watched
Cool, like Shaft, hand in his pocket, ready
The young woman opposite
Could see what was happening; couldn’t stand it
Got off at Marble Arch
Maybe got the next train
Maybe never took another train in her life

So many secrets
No one looked anyone in the eye
All just shadows

I got off at Oxford Circus
Who knows what happened next
Could have been a blood bath
But I won’t say a word if the police come knocking
I saw nothing

Still, I know what I know
Especially about the hit man
There’s so many of them on the tube these days
Mostly on the Central Line.

by Nicolette Turner

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