“Trains” by David Shumate


I am seduced by trains. When one moans in the night like some dragon gone lame, I rise and put on my grandfather’s suit. I pack a small bag, step out onto the porch, and wait in the darkness. I rest my broad-brimmed hat on my knee. To a passerby I’m a curious sight—a solitary man sitting in the night. There’s something unsettling about a traveler who doesn’t know where he’s headed. You can’t predict his next move. In a week you may receive a postcard from Haiti. Madagascar. You might turn on your answering machine and hear his voice amid the tumult of a Bangkok avenue. All afternoon you feel the weight of the things you’ve never done. Don’t think about it too much. Everything starts to sound like a train.

David Shumate
—from The Floating Bridge

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