The scene changed
Roaring orchestra and my fingers twitched

The gap

The camera spotted
A man in brown
Among the stormy silence of passengers at King’s Cross
Kisses, arms and arms
In the faint gleam of twilight and dust
Brown and gray
Hundreds of heated souls
Crammed and crushed with bond of love
Into one body

Words and cheers
Tossed and caught safely in the air
Piano notes followed the ups and downs of hands
Pale and sweaty
Waving for a lifetime
Prayer for the voyage home in a month
A year or more
Or never

A man into the carriage
Goodbyes melting into the bonging tune
The camera swam into the breathings of London smoke
Contrabasses quaked
Violins overflowed
My ears were bursting
Mind the gap
A voice echoed in my gut
My mouth quivered with thirst
Mind the gap
And I was sitting in a seat bound for Staines
Wrapped in bright scarlet

My eyes gazed into the clouds hanging low
Beyond the unsmeared window glass
Patches of gold and purple
Here and there
A herd of chimney tops far away
Grayish towers yonder
A distant smile in the mirror

My lips shadowed the voice
Queenstown Road Battersea Clapham Junction Wandsworth Town
A train of names gasped out
Into the quiet dusk of the carriage
Only my whisper
And a pool of emptiness
Reflecting the glitter of the dying sun
I stopped
As if to make sure the music belonged to me
And inhaled

A fragile satisfaction

A child rolled in a seat across the aisle
His mother patting his head
He made a fluent melody
Of a tongue I never belonged to
I did not move an inch

Mind the gap
I stared into the gray sunset too strongly and the surface splashed

The darkness squared a light
The screen gave countless names in silver
Some pianos and strings
Names after names
Constant waves of otherness

A word in a new accent
Slipped away into the watery blackness of the cinema
My mouth was dry

Another sound
Unacquainted and lost

A deserted brain

And then a slight pain
A yearning
And some suffocating serenity


Misako Takahashi

Misako Takahashi

Misako Takahashi is a graduate student in English Literature at the University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo. Her research topics include the imagery of nature in children’s literature and natural history. She is especially interested in stories in which wolves appear.