The Bard on BART (Dream Journal 3/93)


Speeding through the trans-bay tunnel, I surrender to its darkness. There is no end. Wind swishes around the cars, and the brakes squeal when the train rounds a bend. Have I, somehow, entered a space tunnel.
At the end of the car, a woman sings a lullaby, calming her crying baby. The child sobs itself asleep, two fingers buried deep between clenched teeth. A deep sigh echoes throughout the car.
Out the window, the face reflected back is not mine. This woman, I see, has long grey hair, pulled back in a pony tail. Her eyebrows, bushy black, hide in a round moon face. Reading glasses rest on her flat nose. Where is the face I know? The face I remember at thirty-four. Full of promise. Full of hope. That can not be it shadowed on the tunnel wall.
An announcement crackles throughout the car. "This is a secret communication. Please cover your ears and close your eyes. Don' t speak to your neighbor." The announcement , first in English, repeats in Spanish, French, and Anglo-Saxon. I only understand the Anglo-Saxon.
I hand my book to the man across the aisle, and he gives me the New York Times crossword puzzle and a pencil. The lead is broken. All the spaces solved except one: Ten across: Said he not so? Or did I dream it so? The answer: Romeo and Juliet.
"We repeat, this is a secret communication."

Insistent, my mind revisits a night long ago.