Saturday, August 29, 2009

Help is Not Coming

The icy rain spots the sill, where a single upper window sits open in the station. A sparrow flies in out of the night. Startled by the warmth and light, he flies to the other side, lined with other windows, all of them closed.
Travelers below come from their trains. They don’t hear the desperate wet thing, sick with cold, scratching at the glass. By morning it’s dead, and B.D. the janitor climbs his ladder and collects it in a pan.
He idly spots the single vertical crack in the window. Facing the center of the pane, he can see how it lines up almost exactly with the tree across the street, the gas station two blocks further, and a brick tower far away.
He wipes the glass clean, and he doesn’t have reason to go back. Three weeks after, following another storm, he doesn’t see the spot where the lightning burned the tree down to a stump. He doesn’t think of the story in the paper later that year about how the gas station has been razed after the terrible accident. And as the first year passes he barely notices the dim roar one morning. A controlled implosion brings down that abandoned apartment where someone shouldn’t have played in the stairwell.
No one sees the crack, which now marks a clear line to the bay -- the gray water beneath the empty sky.
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