Not on the Railroad Tracks

by | Feb 9, 2021 | Issue Nineteen, Poetry

The tracks flanked the river

between twin rails.

The red light blinked westward

a permanent, arrested fixture,

begging stop forever.

Crews cruise westward then eastward

like any way was a good direction.

The sun shone fall in its amber palette. 

Music stuttered across the river,

an empty staccato.

People jogged and raced by on bikes,

breathing in their ghoulish bodies.

Everything had the insolence of joy

parading around stillness.

The earth, sun, the stippled water, rowing . . .

How could you possibly have been here

and yet, now are not?

Years ago, I teetered off the Amtrak

at the Ann Arbor depot—up the way

into my grandparent’s smiles.

Train late—they stood waiting on the walk.

Had finished school and a Brooklyn

adventure. Grandpa laughed

as my overstuffed duffle tipped me over—

grabbed it as I tumbled off the step

onto the platform.

Home.

Parents.

Memories.

Dream things.

Now gone.

Them.

You.

England.

Hope.

Please come back, Max.

Death doesn’t make sense,

I think as I veer

from the weed-strewn rails,

stumble up oxidized stairs

to the suicide survivors meeting

in the converted block station.

Narborough is a long ride away;

the ocean’s vast. No ghost marriage

for us today. You are everywhere

and nowhere.

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