The timetables are striped to help you read them.
There is no meaning to the stripes.
The stripes are pale, so you only see them
subconsciously: your brain makes columns
of the numbers, which you read as a timetable
because they are in the accepted format –
a list of place-names down the left-hand side,
symbols at the top and very little on a Sunday –
posted on a station wall at the back of beyond.
Otherwise they could be share prices, swimming results
or experimental data. Or the jottings
of an obsessive: it is very easy
to miss a train by one minute. The lines
curve past overgrown embankments, late summer
standstill. You are the only person here.
How did you get this far? Some things unravel
through explanation. You may be waiting
for a train that never comes.