Last Train

by Annabel Banks

Quietened, we strangers sit together and snip words out of the day, making stories anew (and keeping the left overs in case of ransom). The best words are used over. He will stutter, I will flick, she will curl it with her rare-pink piece, and yet each is unique in its sounding, licked down with a different tongue. We cut together highlights and retells, buff surfaces and brighten skies, for we have people we must tell. Somewhere. If we are lucky.

     We address these to our lovers. Intimacy means no more than this: short-story short hand, details understood. It was like that time, we won’t need to say, because they are already there. The gummed letters still spell unknowability, aloneness, solitude, but perhaps the listening, the downloading of our pictures to the screen behind their eyes, is what keeps us facing each other. Keep your eyes on my mouth, we don’t say, because this is how we touch. It’s your turn now. Yes.

     Experience takes time. The beginning are brickwork, sat out solid for feet the hit upon, fingers to hold if we fall from the ledge of possibility, willingness to believe suspended like a tightrope between what do you take me for and a yawn. Follow that thought. String the happened and walk carefully, toe-heel, hands up, even though it feels wrong, off balance. This is hard; when we stall and want to swim in the air, wide grasp, edits that hop and skip to the end, we must be still: trust their attention and let the telling take over. This story of upright and forward will get us to the end, where they are waiting. Always there. For we are lucky.