Nights of Siberia


A train speeds through nine thousand kilometers of snow, pine, and withered grass. Rooks, houses, empty fields – day by day I watch them crumble and disappear into the night, on the other side of the window. Hours shift steadily one notch further until the notion of night and day becomes irrelevant. On the fifth day the rhythms of my life stop matchıng the rhythms of the life outside. I sleep through the day and my eyes are open long after midnight, as I lie on my bunk, staring into the window. There is a piece of moon gliding to and fro in the sky, staring back at me.

The train brakes, makes a curve, drags a little bit, speeds up again, and I feel my whole body shift and rock gently with it, as if in a baby bed, while the wheels thump to me their lullaby. The moon peers softly into my face, like a loving Mother, and down with her beams come to see me those, whose wrinkled faces I know like an ABC.

Some of them I’ve seen since my childhood, some of them I’ve known by the pictures in the family album. These empty fields is the place where they lived, long before I was born, where they built their houses and worked their backs off, so that decades and decades later I could get on this beast of a train and pass by these cold and exotic place, which they once called home.


Their wrinkled shapes move silently around me, they touch my hands and pull me gently into their dance. Every step they make is a step of embrace, and every glance they give me is a glance of knowing something that I yet don’t know. There is a slight shuffle of feet, a barely noticeable shift of bodies; there is a steadiness of their gaze. Their eyes hide the images of their lived lives, as if in a black box. I try and press a hand that touches me, I give an embrace to another silvery shape; and feel the warmth of their fingers, rough with work and dry with winds. They pour strength into my soul, until we are one and my hands are grappling on air.

The bodies around me are only the light of the moon that watches us dance, on the other side of the window.


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