On one side, the soul wanders.
On the other, human beings living in fear.
In between, the pit of disappearance.
Some young girls ask me
if they’ll be safe near Averno–
they’re cold, they want to go south a little while.
And one says, like a joke, but not too far south–
I say, as safe as anywhere,
which makes them happy.
What it means is nothing is safe.
You get on a train, you disappear.
You write your name on the window, you disappear.
There are places like this everywhere,
places you enter as a young girl,
from which you never return.
The girls are happy, thinking of their vacation.
Don’t take a train, I say.
They write their names in mist on a train window.
I want to say, you’re good girls,
trying to leave your names behind.
from Averno, by Louise Glück