Stone Telling

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Train in my veins

by Dominik Parisien

The train in my veins has travelled
          atop mountain-bruise ranges across my arms
          patched the yellow-brown of rotten lemons
down underwater cavern systems in my lungs
where bronchi like fragile coral reefs abound
          through twin slow-growing glaciers on my eyes
past bubbling bogs inside my kidneys.

The train's next stop is no doubt the valleys
and crevices of my cortex to take
the meaning of who and when and what
but we have not come to that, not yet
perhaps we never will; words can still
be polished on my tongue like pearls
such things without worth except
what value we impress on them.

(I can still peel an orange
reassemble its skin like a torn
map tracing the routes
with my trembling fingers)

I have known the days of electricity
          the days of diesel
          the days of steam
still I cannot help but fear
the day the train leaves the tracks
knowing it will carry
the landscape of me with it.

Dominik Parisien's first published poem appeared in Stone Telling 7. Since then, his poetry has appeared in print and online, most recently in Ideomancer, Shock Totem, Strange Horizons, Tesseracts 17, and Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Dominik is the poetry editor for Postscripts to Darkness, provides editorial support to Cheeky Frawg Books, and is a former editorial assistant for Weird Tales.

Photography: adapted from Citrus, by Afzal Imram.