The roaring of a train
I heard last night when I opened the windows
now that summer has ebbed,
shot me sideback wayward
to nights with Mom in a bed
in Grandpa’s big house
listening to lumbering oily hulks call to me
from far across town
all night long.
The first time we took a train,
Mom and me,
we ate sandwiches
and drank tall glasses of chocolate milk
in the white-linened dining car.
She told me not to stare at the dark suited old man
talking to the empty seat next to him.
I just wanted to see if he ordered two lunches
but she wouldn’t let me look.
She said I needed to understand that he was sick
like anybody can get sick
but in his mind.
Like anybody can get sick—
Last night when I heard the lonely
horn blast of the train
I wanted to rush out and buy a ticket.
I wanted to journey.
Do people still ride them?
Do trains still have dining cars?
If so, I’m pretty sure I’d find him there still,
talking to a shadow only he can see.
Someone who keeps him company
throughout the long ride.