Hades at the Station: A Three Act Railway Tragedy

By | 15 February 2023

I: As an estranged mother descended the stairs at Lewisham station
she thought of what it was like to
be free in a restrained world and
if her child knew
how to be free from her.

Each step;

Her soles sunk
cinder-block sneakers;
like her migrant eyes.

The crackle of her knees
on each step
directed her mind’s eye
to the Rice Bubbles she once watched her child eat…

In the summer
when the three of them
left Birmingham Avenue

In the summer before
three snapped into two

In the summer
before everything burst.

II: At the seabed
of the station stairs,
an adult looked at her
with the eyes of a child
she hardly knew,

their stare was nothing like
their mother’s blubbering face—

There was a change in plans:
Rather than meeting on the platform
the adult decided to intercept the woman the child decided to intercept their mother
and join the apparition of underground faces.

They would surprise the
weeping woman that
stood before them
by taking them to a Lewisham cafe—

This volte-face was shorter, more
bearable and better than a citybound trip with a stranger.

III: And as the mother ascended
the stairs to leave Lewisham station,
their child followed close behind
and as the mother neared the surface,
she thanked the gods for a second chance

but with two steps to go,
as she turned to face them,
they were no longer there.

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