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July 2013, vol 9, no 2

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Ruth Holzer


The Gare de Lyon was bleak on that February night of my departure. By chance, I found an empty third-class compartment. At the last minute, just as the train was lurching forward, the door banged open. A gang of booted men barged in with their luggage and skis. Shoving, shouting, sizing me up.

length of the tunnel
the sound
of heavy breathing

They were factory workers from Lille on their annual vacation. Uncorking bottles and tearing into bags of sandwiches, they urged me to join them. We crossed the mountains, a black and white frozen landscape under eerie moonlight. It was so cold that we curled up together and slept all tangled in a heap.

wool and feathers—
the warmth of other creatures
like ourselves