the judge

your train was late so I sat in the car to wait
dreaming, watching people hurrying in and out
with bags, without, waving, standing about
cars pulling in, loading, unloading, moving away again

opposite me, in the shadow of the bridge
there was a large poster advertising a private girls’ school
the picture, a child dressed as a judge, the title
understandably enough – The Judge
I stared at it for a while
imagining what it might be like
to see her put a black hanky on her head
and say, in a child’s voice: ‘…hanged by the neck until you are dead’.
And see her laugh, and throw off her robes,
and run off to play. I wouldn’t know what to say.
Until they grabbed me by the shoulders
and dragged me out of the car

That’s when you opened the door
and that’s why I flinched