There is a fairly meaty carpenter ant crawling across the window sill by my work table. It is slowly feeling its way through the dust — a little cleanup is long overdue, I’m afraid. There are also some spider webs the poor creature is having to contend with — nothing major, though — in fact, the webs are probably from last fall, because no spider in its right mind would weave its web against an icy window that collects a great deal of moisture. Then again, what do I know about the secret lives of spiders? The ant just disappeared into the metal gutter where the window slides when it is opened and closed. Poor thing. Now it’s headed back in the direction from which it came. And there is no spider to be seen, thus confirming my theory about the inhospitable web-building environment.

It would probably be a good idea to look outside. After all, isn’t that what windows are for? My window: the first step into the Great Beyond. Hello. It’s raining. It’s raining, and it’s very windy. I see two bare maple trees. The branches are encrusted with a pale mossy-looking growth that isn’t moss — at least it isn’t the soft green moss one encounters in forests. There are a couple of small pine trees across the street, around twenty or thirty feet high. The sky is a light, uniform gray. There’s a white birch tree over there to the right, and more maples, and further away a few oaks, where there used to be a little forest of oaks and firs, until most of them were cut down to make room for a clump of what are now called manufactured homes. Immediately behind the homes is a railroad track that was in disuse when the homes were hauled in. Now the track is being used again. I wonder how they like it over there?

I also wonder how I like it over here. I guess it depends on what I mean by “here.” For instance, I like being here on the earth; I like being here in the sense that I am alive; I like being here because I can hear the loud horn of a train coming my way on the aforementioned tracks, and feel the vibration through the floor. And it’s getting louder. Have I mentioned that I love trains, and that I have had dreams about trains? As a child I used to lie awake at night and listen to the freight cars rattling in the distance. The tracks were in town; we were in the country, but not that far out. And then I awakened one night, and in my room there was a man dressed in black and holding a lantern. He was also smoking. Each time he inhaled, the end of his cigarette glowed. But he said nothing. Somehow, though, I knew he was from the train.

It took me quite awhile — a minute? five minutes? an hour? a year? — to realize I had been dreaming. It was a disappointment. Maybe I should have gotten out of bed and gotten dressed and gone back to the train with him. On the other hand, if I had, I might not be here today — here in this case being at my table writing, as if the world were really a sane place to be.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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