THE TRAIN TO NEATH/ Like lantern blur through fog, we ride across the coal-dust river to the cinder bank of the other side, almost disembodied, dead, gUding along aloof and looking over garden waUs and into potting sheds, past flowered council housing shades to rooms where peat fires smoke and photos on the mantle craze and fade. The backs hold sticks of broken winter frames whose shards of hothouse glass infect a knacker's yard of furniture gone lame after the mines were closed. Now coal is scarce, the union hall is used for bingo, everyone is on the dole. We watch as lovers mime goodbyes into the dark; the conductor stamps our tickets with his cross, instead of this continued opportunity or ankh--he thinks we want to disembark, of sliding past and looking at eye-level life with insular impunity, like the cushioned joints we barely feel, the rails so close but still detached, thumping out their muffled pairs of wheels like heartbeats under wool, a demi-death-- the double panes of windows holding back our words but showing us our breath. The Missouri Review · 209 AT ARTHUR'S STONE/ They say on simmer dim this stone wiU stand then
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1997
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