Part 6

8:42 and every passenger funnelled,
Squeezed inside, like trying to put
toothpaste back into the tube.
Some clasp the handles
Hooked in as fish still on the rod.

Around me are faces I’ve seen
so many, many times:
An old lady, a teen, a businessman
A businessman, a businessman,
A businesswoman.

And right there, the father and daughter,
And the two lovers still locked together.

***

The train starts with a shudder
as if somebody walked
over its grave.
Then smoothly settles into a rhythm,
A gazelle escaping through the long plains.
Just ninety yards from safety.

There’s commotion in a carriage
The father kisses the girl on the head
and goes to investigate.
I can see through the glass shutter.
I see the man.
And then time stops.

A muffled voice, as if drawn out
In slow motion.
The bag in the hand,
The shout to the god
The fear on the face.
The split second
explosion.
But that sound died,
that sound replaced by the clear
peal of church bells,
And the light and fire
bleached my vision white.
For a moment I was senseless.

***

To remember the tendrils
of flame, tentacles pushing out,
Feeling, touching, hungry,
clutching on to anything,
Everything
Not letting go. And pellets
of shrapnel firing from
myriad guns.
A bomb, fired
A thousand miles over the soldiers,
To reach us here.
Wartime in the third carriage
of 204.

A few seconds,
Bang.

A few seconds,
Bang.

The End

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