On the Platform

Millions and millions of miles above me, through the earth and metal and stone; up past the empty space of sky and hard hot bodies of stars; the black holes rest like pools in the fabric of the universe. I am not talking metaphor – this is not about love in the dark. I am talking about the places in the larger world so hungry even light cannot escape. Here, under the ground, I am waiting for a sign: for the shadows to stretch and vanish so that I might know -- the train is coming. But if we are out walking one day, and the sun is shining, and the air is so soft you could just swim down the street—how will we know if a black hole is forming right around the corner, over our heads, or beneath our feet? Since light cannot escape there is no visible warning, no sound like thunder in the distance. I may be waiting for a train, and BAM I am sucked in. What will happen to my life then?

Standing at the edge of the subway platform it occurs to me that nothing can fill up the black hole. No women, no love, no religious or personal deity.

Some believe a black hole is the astronomer’s rainbow – we get the treasure if only we get to the other side. In movies this happens all the time, but so does redemption and comic timing, and here, below the earth, we know those things are hard to predict. I do not know when the train is coming. Right now the tunnel is dark save for the pinpoints of lanterns like stars burning in the distance. Perhaps the black hole leads nowhere. Still, I keep telling myself: if I live well, if I eat right, if I find love…. maybe then I will pass through to a new part of the world; or wake up in a different time, in a new body. Will I? The platform is crowded with faces like mine: hungry faces, tired faces: scared animals in a cave. See the shadow? Is it growing, or shrinking? Is that a train coming to take us, or a black hole, hungry and waiting? There is only one thing I am sure of: What comes around the tracks will take a lifetime to arrive.

Better be ready.


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