Rites of passage (Departures)

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Photo at Pixabay

School bus
The stone bus shelter smelling of urine, a punctured football under the bench
A laminated timetable and Man United graffiti on the noticeboard
Echoes of insults and taunts bounce around its walls
Like billiard balls looking for their targets

Transit lounge in Dubai airport during the Haj
Men in white robes sleep curled round their bags next to a clacking moving walkway
Trim bearded young men who ooze wealth from their pores
Fuss over wheezing wizened companions
Whilst prayers and announcements boom from a tannoy above their heads

Packing the car for university
A sandwich toaster perches on top of a printer still in its John Lewis delivery box
A clarinet case with its indecipherable grimy name tape rests on a sticker covered laptop
A camera captures teeth clenched in a fixed grin in front of the open car boot
While a Harry Potter duvet spills towards the damp gravel driveway

Cathy Johnson

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