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Train Whistle Far from Town, Approaching

Gerry LaFemina

Dawn on the neck of a broken bottle
there on the train tracks through the woods

so that, lit up this way, deep green &
brilliant, the shards have an almost alien
beauty as if they’ve been dyed in light.

If such days have a flavor, would they taste
of vanilla or honeysuckle or Chardonnay?

Would they taste of her shampoo & sweat?
More bitter? All night I’d battled nostalgia
while the wind along the rails sounded

like a harmonica, sudden blues
that hinted of Chicago. There’s been too much

loss for me to walk laughing into first light,
so I’ll just sit, here
in the living room & wait for another train

to rattle these walls. Somewhere
the Gatsbies of this world are hosting

their grand parties. Still, the boxcars carry echoes
of their laughter & carry the good hoboes, too,
who have forsaken jobs cashiering gas stations,

& heartache, & kitchen floors needing
to be scrubbed, traded them for metronomic

rail wheels. Such times when the train slows
as it curves through town, I need to imagine
them carousing while they warm their hands

in the glow of green glass, & beneath that joy
the undeniable silence

that marks despair. In spite of myself
I want to call to them
believing, finally, I have found my people.

Gerry LaFemina

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