The Dark

The day turns on its end, a heavy weight that sinks in heated air beneath the streets. The platform is quite, policed, desolate in the way of caves and grime.
I spend a few moments on a stone bench completely broken, abandoned, sorting through the things in my bag for some sense of identity. I find nothing. A train screams through the tunnel.
In the morning, a child wakes in tears.
“It is dark! It is dark!”
We have a few moments before she’s carted away ― blessed morning with the tribe. My time with them is wondrous. A family friend, I’ve been with the children through their whole lives. The mother, a native Korean, sees me as an uncle or cousin, or Zen monk. Our story must be much longer than we can attest, or that the plane of existence has worn through, and we share the rended threads.
Daylight, a blustery day on the line. The pale, gleaming plate glass light is dragged across the floor of the cabin, stretched as far as my narrowed eyes. There was a strange flash or white out, and the shadow returned. I prefer the darkness, but if it were truly dark, the suffocating dark of an underground cave, I’d prefer anything else. As to the radiant world above ground… like Beckett’s rats, I prefer the space between the light and the dark.
Under seven districts to the underground station downtown – flatline breath, mind control penny on the floor, sleep overtakes me… we must remain alert! Pink sweatsuits, NASA’s shirts, I fall deep under Beverly/Vermont, but only to MacArthur Park. At Seventh and Metro the old will urges me up to the street, watches the clock, raises the pressure. Ventricles closing, the train lurches, knocks against something. The only word anyone speaks, the first word always, anywhere:

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