On trains…

Photo by runzi zhu on Unsplash

Out of the settling dusk
It glides into the station
A metal snake with screeching breath
Disgorging a tumble of people from its warm belly
 
I step inside the beast
Into air thick with a day’s activity,
Rigid ribs of seats hold weary bodies
All wrapped up in virtual worlds
 
A fetid tinge of alcohol, the rustle of a paper bag
Waft through the carriage
 
Beyond the reflections of heads bent on phones
Flickering images of night rush by
Darkness punctuated by red full stops
that leak from their edges
And bright rectangles of light,
Lined up like platoons,
In the clatter of a faster train
On its own straight and narrow gauge
 
The rhythmic clicking of machinery in action
The beating heart of progress
Slows to a reassuring hum
And with a screech and the slight
bump of inertia
we arrive at a brightly lit station
 
And I am myself disgorged
into the waiting arms of home.

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