Lonely Planet

There`s a train that`s stopped moving, in the middle of Hokkaido, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter. The sound of a thousand snores, a thousand sleepy sighs. The rumble of a passing train. The one the driver`s waiting for.

There`s a train that`s stopped moving but any minute now it`ll tug at its carriages, jerk into motion, shudder into being. No one wakes up. The girl in the smoking area crouches over the table, asleep, a full ashtray next to her head. Icy wastes.

There`s a train bound for nowhere or the bottom of the ocean, diving into a tunnel that tries to cut a dragon`s head in two. Maybe outside the windows, beyond the steamed glass, there`s a community of future humans with gills staring at the train.

There`s a train going through a tunnel that never ends and the farther it travels the harder it is to reach, to hear. The lights are all still on but the air in the carriages is full of bubbles. How to remain forever frozen, underwater.

There`s a train with no passengers waiting at an ice-bound station, cartoon characters on its sides, ice crawling towards its doors. Somewhere a bell rings and cracks the silence but the train remains motionless, misunderstood.

There`s a train running late but no one even seems to care or hear it coming. A flag is raised, a finger pointed, an information display adjusted, blips. Crowds line up to see it pulling into the phantom station. Craning. Breathing.

There`s a train arriving every heartbeat, its contents spilling out onto platforms and into elevators, down escalators and through turnstiles. Twelve hours ago this train was not moving. But I breathed, somehow, through the pitch and dark.

There`s a train that`s stopped moving, in the middle of Tokyo, in the middle of the day, in the middle of winter. The sound of a thousand dreams, a thousand sighs of relief. The rumble of a subway train. Distant lives within the tracks.

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