Tangerine Epilogue


Outside the sky has gone red.

A blood-orange glow over my city's rooftops.
hid in the corner, knees tucked to my chest,
stuffed rabbit beside
watching window frame evening clouds.

We'll keep each other safe till the end comes.

Somewhere far off the ocean laps at the shore.

Mother's not going to make it home tonight.

The crescendo peaks in silence, a sigh of release.

"I'll always be at your side" 

I look up to see a woman beside me on the train, holding my hand. There's a gentleness to her, a quiet yearning hid under the exhaustion of age; her sweater smells of garden earth. I don’t know her.

Plush rabbit tucked secure under my arm, I cautiously scan the other passengers riding with me (click-clack below our feet).

An old man slouches into his seat across from me, hat sunk low shading gruff mustache. He looks soft as a toy bear as he naps, rustling newspaper folded over chest.

A mother sits primly, hunched over needlework. A gift for the daughter at her side, resting on hip. The lines of her face are drawn taut, but her fingers are fluid and sure. It's nearly finished.

A little boy skips down the corridor, confident footfalls thumping in rhythm. He steals an inquisitive glance at the new girl, proud furrow in his brow as he grabs a support pole and falls into a spin. He’s unconcerned.

A young man dressed for work leans into car window and looks up at the clouds, timid

wonder in his eyes, a gnawing fear at bay in his chest beneath steady breaths and gripped armrest. He seems so small.

I stare down at my own feet, legs swaying slightly, not quite touching the floor. Her hand is warm.

I look up, searching the woman’s face; there’s a kindness under her practised tranquility, the serene laugh lines of a grandmother. I’m not afraid.

"Where am I going?", I ask.  
She meets my gaze for a moment, words held briefly on her tongue before looking away, off beyond the traincar; it seems as if years pass through her eyes like moments.

"The same place as all of us” she replies at last, turning back to me with a soft smile, taking my hand in both of hers. Her assuring warmth betrays the sadness in her eyes.

I nod, clutching my bunny close

Outside the sky has turned red

A blood-orange radiance melting over shingled eaves

The gathered threads are snipped at final weave.
The orchestra stills at last.

chelsea r. 8/22/2021 - 9/3/2021