Slow train

Early in the morning and
I ride the slow train—
no hurries

An imagined order subject to collapse
Hopes as inexhaustible as loneliness
Gabe’s Dad shows us how to light the oven
He says, “You kids don’t know anything
You’d all starve to death in this house”

I think about her now — memories
as spontaneous as roadside purple weeds,
as I ride the slow train

Sure surface twinkles
like starlight drink the secret mists
around the far spires near the shady
inlet where the lake reflects the greenery
and the new fruit ripens in the trees

Some phantom of my mother hugs
me in a dream on the slow train
like an airy soft elegance

Dad used to like those flavorless
apples called “delicious” that could travel far,
red and crisp—we’ve got better apples now
That and a bullet salami on rye with mustard
were treats his diabetes would allow

Unlike our ancestors, we favor
present observation over past traditions
on the slow train

Those aren’t your pearls
so, of course, I want them back
The person I gave them to
wasn’t the same person as you
She loved me and you didn’t

Much is denied to love
on the slow train—
no phantoms, no rush

She expects his disapproval—
her Dad, like some gnat or mosquito,
incessantly buzzes around her head
What if I’m no kind of end point for you?
What if I’m just a stop along the way?

Deep relations can stem from sorrow
The need to replace the what or the who
on the slow train

There are those who take their anger
inside and those who show it outside
Mostly, we combine the two
I was going to ask her but something
between us warned me not to

Children who are strong, happy and free
may as adults, on the slow train, hide
a childish fragility 




-July 2, 2016-