By David Earl
Rocked to sleep on the rails
after a late night with saké,
I missed my stop.
The clock read 13:40. I stepped off the train,
watching its trailing lights as it trundled away
on rapids of gravel and steel
through an ocean of rooftops.
Standing in a station I’d never heard of,
waiting for the inbound at 13:41,
another minute for myself.
An idle chime played from the PA speakers
like a cuckoo’s call, curious and lonely,
backed with a choir of crying cicadas
under the glow of an afternoon sun.
I was at the platform’s end,
walls painted white, aging to beige,
lined with old benches,
red plastic faded to peach.
I sat down, the seat embraced me,
comforting, warm, empty.
I filled my lungs with summer air,
that sweet perfume, like pine boughs,
hydrangea bushes, the river bank,
taiyaki from a corner booth,
pages ripped from that book I loved.
A breeze glided in, ruffled my hair, caressed my skin,
a gentle hand, familiar and soft.
A man with a dark coat, a grandma with a cane,
two schoolchildren, holding hands,
all stood on the other platform.
But no one stood at this side, on the far end
where I stared out, like an old Jizo,
from an island of concrete and steel.
Another minute with the crying cicadas
Another minute in the bitter breeze.
Another minute thinking of you