There we are: you in your shirt and tie. Me
in my new winter coat with its raccoon fur collar,
trying to look as old as you. The black porter
helps us aboard, the small folds of his palm,
pink on the other side of dark flesh. Names us
Bruce-y and Lucy as he hoists up the metal stairs.
The chaos of our small lives is hushed and our parents
recede, then disappear. Down narrow, rocking corridors,
we lurch and lean in search of the glass dome-car.
Ice cubes tinkle in glasses as strangers swirl
their drinks, smoke curling around their lips,
silver as the curve of the club car. Up steep,
carpeted steps, we slip into plush seats
as the roof opens to sky, to endless frames of bush.
The flick of a deer’s tail as it disappears, blue jays
cardinals, crows pepper our view. Too soon
hunger rumbles. We leap over grinding joints
sparks flare, rails laid bare – the lurching platform
a monster’s jaw and I am nearly swallowed
as winter’s fury inhale’s the train’s stale breath.
Safe again, we unfold used wax paper to mom’s
turkey sandwiches and short breads. Two rounds
of Crazy Eights, what Christmas gifts
have our grandparents bought? we speculate
a record player, a gold bracelet as the whistle sings
the clickety-clack sway swings, heads lurch
then rest as the landscape folds in around us …
One last ride? Growing old together, a child’s dream.
Today, tracks to the east, commuter trains
rumble by. You rest beneath a Linden tree.
Hawks circle overhead.
Alone, I rock with the rhythm, waiting to arrive.