We carved our names into the back of a seat on the bus

as it stopped momentarily outside a library.


side by side, white letters etched

hastily into a block of bright purple.


we guided our fingers along the lines.

the strokes were formed swiftly with little hesitation

and the little plus sign in the middle created an equation

with no apparent solution.


How effortlessly a penny had put together a mess of imperfect dashes,

forging them into something so mysteriously coherent.


Perhaps we should have resorted to clichés:

fixing locks along Parisian bridges and

engraving our names into tree trunks instead,

killing them to let ourselves live on.


but I don’t think there is a metaphor more apt for whatever we have,

a little secret tucked away in a corner at the back,

evoking wonder and curiosity and indifference

from strangers we will never meet.


Maybe one day the seat will be replaced

by a newer one, more purple and less vandalised.


but until then,

I hope somebody sees our little masterpiece on the bus journey home,

and I hope she writes a poem about it.

Sadia Ahmed, 2017

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