Riding the train from Tower City,
our feet rest in a pile of unprepared
farina like footprints in sand.
‘This is where I carried you,’
I say, and she smiles.
Front seat, rear car, a window to the right,
a window dead ahead. Reflection
of us – scarved, gloved, overcoated,
your head resting on my shoulder,
my arm across the back of seat.
Rickety train, low frequency of clangs
and pops, like holding your nose
underwater and trying to exhale.
Some cars are louder than others.
This one is not quiet.
Not so much.
Alexandra tells me that the trains
in Japan are better.
She does not elaborate.
‘Things are better in Japan,’
she says as we pass the mills.
A flame, a plume atop a stack
standing vigil over Industry.
Closing my eyes, I consider
The Notion of Japan – going there.
Hassler, at Kent, he did it.
Wrote a book about it. Or two.
Ohio Poet of the Year.
I could do that. Not so much
the poetry but maybe the books.
Fish out of water short stories
Times 10 over 125 pages.
The train shudders to a halt.
I open my eyes. Too dark
to make out anything
but graffiti under the bridge.
Alex asks where we are;
Judging by the artwork:
‘East 105. Ours is next.’