Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Girl Sits Atop A Train




I can feel the words stirring in the back of my mouth.
My throat not yet a desert. The thirst doesn't consume me, yet.
I stand, neck thrown back, eyes peeled open, at scores of book stores
down an insignificant street.
I consider how I have travelled here, how I had hopped
across the tops of trains
without sitting in their worn out seats, without
making eye contact with the other passengers beneath me
staring out of their dusty windows
at the sunrise, perhaps, at nothing more than earth
blurring by in a whirr of time, something to reflect on, later, later
a changing view, nothing new
to me.
I think about the desolate landscapes inbetween the regions of kindness
that Naomi Shihab Nye described
She, too, on that rumbling train. I watched her
with my periscope shaped like a book, a poem
Laying flat against the rooftop of that train. I watched her.

The train approaches the insignificant town. The tracks begin to crumble away,
and so it slows. A voice echos up.
"Exit here for the experience of a lifetime!"
I swallow.
My toes curl inside my cheap, clean shoes.
I have read so little. I have felt so little, and so much
The windows I was supposed to look through on my ticketed seat,
I merely glanced at.
Distracted by my own reflection, distracted
By thoughts of a destination
Before I eventually made my way upon that roof
Charming a hapless guard with a poem,
or a kiss.

The bookshelves swallow me whole with their density,
the desert dust stings my eyes, but I cannot close them.
the words begin to crawl out of the pages,
like thousands of insects desperately scattering
in no particular direction
in my direction
I know I have to consider things seriously.
Re-read the books, as many as I can, before the next train departs
to a chapter of my life that I don't think I'm ready for.
I wonder,
Will I make my way back into the open air of that moving train
Back to the wind rushing past my ears, whistling a tune, a wordless poem
When all the books are read.
Or will I take my seat with the others
The more knowledgeable, perhaps
For a lifetime spent looking through the dusty windows?

A girl sits atop a train.


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