Day Twelve: ‘Train Quartet’

April 12, 2013

The train has an agenda of its own,

snaked in silver and whipping round

the state’s snow-fed corners. It splits

the cattail decor of the wagging waters.

Those aboard scribble crosswords or

phone a love, slack pawns in the vessel’s

gray bullet game. Through Tarrytown

and Garrison, steel wheels spin

and wet whistles scream hoarse

the call of rail and thunder.


Here in the sun-worn land of

dead shrubs and natural brown,

you are free to roam. No permission

asked or granted — no walk lights

metronoming life and breath. Trainyards

vast as echoes lure the faithful to

the wild greens of antiseptic development.

Your cul-de-sac, frail and fake as

a waving head rug, beckons further.

Your old car grins in the garage.


Flooded by stiff pragmatism in blueprint,

you may have fled a comfy shack-suburban

veer in search of blinking roof and wire.

The open air plain fleeced you with a

perpetual threat of possibility hissing

softly in each ripe wind. Grassy stumps

and kitschy mailboxes nurtured you.

Then you left the door ajar and quit

before it snapped shut, forever

in a chase of polished opal.


But you can’t warm yourself under the

city’s grand bulb glow. Too many

strollers biting your ankles, too

many umbrella points kicking your

temples. No static moments to

nurture your frozen hands.

Never the walkway — always the on-ramp.

The city’s scared you northward with

an incessant growl, like an overfed dog

or a web of crow-stalked branches.

Homeward you lean, still unsure what home is.


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