Three LocationsI. the library There is an undercurrent here, breezes born of turning pages; the sighs of bored attendants and ventilation through stale passages. She brought me here, weighted satchel in one hand, my upper arm in the other, a blur of motion and exam desperation. But that was a month ago. My whispers, contrived to stir melancholy emotion, agitate the pages of scholarly dissertations, and invigorate the old-scented air, bought a second's glance, but nothing more. If she kept her promise, the surge of adrenaline would blot out all the words. II. the switching yard There is a deeper rattle here, a mumbling noise of distant engines, the thrumming hum of metal wheels on metal tracks. She brought me here, pulling me away from my door with a flourish of cloth and hair, a haze of perfume. But that was yesterday. From behind she draped her arms over my shoulders, pointed down the tracks. Her sense of depth and acuity informed her hands to meet where the tracks met, out there where the hum was louder, a surging frenzied rhythm. If she kept her promise, the sound of the air would defeat the trains. III. the balcony There is an echo here, the distant crackle of small arms (a close intimate sound of warm campfires in a forest clearing) cut through with a distant, keening wail. She left me here, avoiding my stare and demanding her leave with a slap and a threat made with slurred words, thick with anger and mucous. But that was an hour ago. My distracted feet carried down to harsh stairwell landings, to the library and the switching yard. Lost in speculation of a future both fearsome and certain, they carried me eventually back here. I haven't looked down. If she kept her promise, the wail of the sirens would be for her.
©1998 Timothy A. Clark