The Lyric Dream Project: Dream 6

It is night. I am walking the platform of a train station in Japan. The platform is L-shaped, surrounded by placid, sterling water. The water and platform form a plane, but do not overlap, like a dock floating even with the surface of a lake. A few willows rise from the water and their limbs are tangled with fog, though the air is otherwise clear. I pause at the corner of the platform, kneel, and dip my finger into the water. It is cold and has the consistency of mercury. It clings briefly to my skin, then beads and slides off, plinking back as if tiny, dropped ball bearings. I turn to the station doors, glass mullioned with bamboo culms, and enter into an airplane hangar. The hangar is crowded with people, some of whom are lined up before a desk where a harried woman fields complaints about delays and lost luggage. I feel suddenly as if I am late for something urgent, I ask the woman when the next plane leaves and to where, but she dismisses me, pointing to the end of the line. I walk to the far end of the hangar and push through yet another set of doors that open unto a walkway overlooking a boarding school cafeteria. Boys in navy sport coats and beige slacks whisper conspiratorially in small circles. I sense they’re talking about me, and feel suddenly as if I have done something wrong, perhaps touched one of them inappropriately. I strain for some memory of the indiscretion, but do not find it. A woman with black hair, clad in a glossy pink Mackintosh approaches me, takes my hand and leads me through a corridor. We emerge onto the wharf-side patio of a seafood restaurant I know but can’t place. The woman seats me at a table lit by votive candles floating in clear glass bowls. People hold hushed conversations at the surrounding tables. Beyond the wharf I see a city skyline and the yellow checkerings of the few offices still lit in the skyscrapers. My sister appears from nowhere and sits across from me. She is holding a tin pail of what I think to be crab legs and places them on our table. The pail is filled with orange feet and the torn wings of seagulls. She brings the smallest wing to my mouth for me to eat. I wake—a metallic taste humming on my tongue.