—railway therapy, Indonesia
The Jakartans offer themselves fully to the tracks,a row of living crucifixes stretched across the rails.They spread their arms along one side, sling their necksback over the steel, and tilt their faces to the sky.On the other track they prop their ankles, bare feetpulsating to the low voltage of faraway trains.They believe the charges emit sparks of insulin, releasethe blue current of sleep, liquefy arthritic hands.Though the signs warn of fines and arrest, they stay.They stay though their children nap and urinate on the rails.And when freight trains thunder by on parallel tracks,wheels just feet from their trembling chests, they presseven further into the steaming metal, believing in a healingno doctor has proven, no faithful like I have prayed for.
Tania Runyan is a poet from Lindenhurst, Illinois, and author of How to Read a Poem (T. S. Poetry Press).
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.
Support us by buying books: