[scroll down to the end of the post for the original spoken word version]
through the washed out landscape
of two-thirds white lanterns,
the parallel rails lie barren
except for a one-eyed locomotive,
lost and vulnerable
in the circle of looming trees,
Beneath the two lit orbs a figure
heavily laden with tartan plastic weave bags,
at a less than safe distance
to the non-light of the third full pearl.
The powerlines above
are braided into a net
but who could expect the heavy
white and rust-mottled marshmallow wagons
to fly away?
Maybe they must be kept safe,
like cherry trees from hungry birds.
It looks could outside.
It is warm inside.
The stillness makes the air
This metal drake is not made to stay still,
the net cannot keep us safe
for much longer.
The night is still
but it is not dark.
The compartment is dark
but it is not still.
The passengers breathe out
their dreams that disturb the air.
The heavy sliding door is cracked
open, as to not disconnect us
from the river of time
silently rushing past the standing train,
creating currents along its sides.
Restlessness grows in the resting,
of the little noises escaping their chests,
the animal that senses
the silent presence and loudly bared teeth
from beyond the treeline.
There are explosions in the lands we leave behind.
There are ruins covering the memories
of waiting areas and digital displays
and check-in desks.
Finally, the train reluctantly starts
onward through the washed-out night.
The shadows was and wane
until we are alone again,
with nothing but the silent stream of time as reference
as we follow the tracks
on the only route we can.
Beneath the floor I can feel them running,
four-legged and steaming,
their dedication equaling obsession,
too many muscles
moving underneath their dark hides.
There’s an unceasing battle beneath my back
that makes me tremble.
The rhythm of their hooves
is accented with sharp hits.
There are stretches when the waves
of the hidden war underneath
shake my flesh as if to take
inventory of the
entirety of my body.
I dutifully take note.
Back in the city there was no sign
of the burning towns beyond,
the thought of the towns as cities heavy
The tragedy of an entire region
kept in the basement
along with its people,
But now we are going west.