Friday, August 25, 2017

The Starry Night (Day 219)

The brown serge, warm in the deluge, 
grew clammy and rumpled easily 
when squeezed into the five-thirty’s
ever-crowded, cramped seats.
Trillions of stars watched as he
—shoulder to shoulder with neighbors 
and strangers in the second car from 
the end—relaxed into the swaying ride 
down the coast toward the unknowable 
emptiness of this Friday evening. 
Somewhere, his seat-mate’s newspaper 
announced with barely suppressed glee, 
a devastating something or other
had caused property damage and,
almost certainly, loss of life.
Somewhere else, right now, he imagined, 
a plane was touching down on searing, 
crackled tarmac, bumping toward a terminal, 
fuselage already covered in red dust,  
overhead bins clunk-clunking, heralding 
the beginning: of vacations, of adventures, 
of memories of a lifetime. Unbelievably,
that lifetime was no longer his; no longer 
his, the smile, the camera, the deep bliss 
of the first, exhausted flop onto the hotel bed, 
the sigh of delight, the de rigeur perusal 
of nightstand drawers and room service menu.
Trillions of stars still watched, as the silver line
of his train pulled up to a darkened station,
spilled a swarm of damp, disgruntled 
commuters onto the pavement, and heaved 
itself southward. Hitching his collar higher, 
fingers wound tightly around the house keys 
in his pocket, he paused, took one slow breath,
then turned left and headed uphill, trudging 
slowly upward into the starry night. 

(c) 2017, by Hannah Six

Image: Fæ via Wikimedia Commons

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