We’ve caught the slow-bound yellow and blue
Rust rattler by treading fallow paths in this
City’s overgrown quilt of garbage and grass
To an unmarked platform, waiting there
Risen without a scrap of mangled consonants
Over the loudspeaker to announce those tired
Determined headlights come to pierce the veil
And pull us out the night.

Ride half-lit from above past devoted garden plots
And blocks of a thousand variations on lace curtains,
Kitchens with their familial fluorescence over soup,
Some version of a chandelier shining on freshly
Washed hands breaking from fields and shops,
So many rooms lit by one bulb from above.

Second-class cabins overflow every Sunday night
With travelers crossing themselves, eggs and pickles
Mandated by mothers who gauge the weight of
Their children by how far they’ve fallen from tableside,
So we stand swerving round the aisle as I peer into
Some dank village far beyond dusk, candles reigning
Over its cemetery,  theirs the only distant flickering
In this country so dark outside of day.

Beneath Black Madonnas they sip coffee
Out of small glasses, accustomed to these vessels and
How they burn their fingers, to holding the grounds
Back from the precipice of their purple lips, that
There’s very little drinking coffee from a machine
Unless one of several exceedingly tall daughters
Comes in from the city to make it that way.

Few other lights along the rails fan the rain, water
Blessed above and prostrated to by this land taut
In time’s slipstream, born between two rivers
Bouncing up before deeply down again to bear
These tracks that bless then curse the countryside
And bring water towers East to West into view,
Their tall decay memorialized clear beyond
Stretches of forest that connect to the clouds
Our dear patches of white birch where we hid
And gathered mushrooms, casting the rain down
To draw the sun back again and reveal how much
Of this land is wrapped around God’s wrist.

Text and picture by the author

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