If a Train

Not a wall but the surface across which the room is projected.

Warmth and light and radio static surround your shadow—picture

a winter finch’s tracks, stitches in snow, last February’s hold.

Here we cannot pass without outline or distinction.

And if a train were possible it would seem to float from the trees

behind the block, pass through either window, and arrive restless

once we are dreaming. But things seldom enter our sleep

and some small part of a waking plan, the way a droning coal train

or a robin lifting out of a bath can inhabit a phrase in the pianist’s

improvisation or the assassin’s choice of socks (red)

on a morning that turns out too misty for truth in his aim.

If a train were possible the metaphors, the figures—the projections—

would have to collapse. We’d call things what they are

and question our sense of direction in the life-size atlas.

Not a wall but a plain, a vastness, leading to an abrupt horizon,

where the room’s focus shifts: not a door so much as a feeling

of starting out, the impetus for painting the inside surface

cumulonimbus in sunset. A notion of distance. Plum was too earthy

for your form never fumbling with the glass knob, a sort of early star.

Pass with me following, closely, into outside, innocuous

misnomer that will facilitate our escape. We’ll wind through a series

of woods and clearings toward anonymity: sidewalks shining

at windows, all things below sky shining back. We will

leave the vehicle for thieves to strip and burn, we will walk

into a nightlife of gorgeous mistakes. By way of heat rising

over asphalt, feet lifting from that rougher surface, the sanguinity

unfolding inside a new city. If a train were possible we could stay.


del.ici.ous  stumbleUpon  Reddit  Facebook  Digg   RSS Feed Icon

About the Author

Jason Labbe is author of a chapbook, Dear Photographer, and poems appearing in Poetry and Conjunctions.

Mary Jo Bang, The Nerve Fibers
Arthur Vogelsang, Reductive