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What these vague memories drawn through
The mind like a restless tremble of fever?
What has informed these blurred images?
This night train halt in a Pullman sleeper,
Sentinel platform lights wreathed by fog,
A face white against the moist glass,
These moving lips are whispering, as
Steam caresses the locomotive's drivers,
A wet cement platform glistening empty,
As a bent black conductor calls, All-laboard,
As a whistle signs to departure's darkness.
More steam now in a vast passenger shed,
Overhead the engineers' crisscross of iron
Like a hallucinogen's etched pattern, the
Soot patina of endless departed consists.
A baggage cart creaks, languidly pushed,
The leather of the stickered trunks and bags,
Eased along the polished baggage car floor.
A small lighted kiosk way down the platform,
"Paper, sir?" and yes, wrapped sandwiches,
magazines, candy, and the always cup of coffee.
And then the pale long legs of a woman as she
Hands herself up through the open Pullman door,
Her red coat for an instant offering precious inches.
The blind wander of the travel weary,
The tossed minute firework of a cigar end,
The crash of a couplers metallic mate,
The violent outbreath of an air-hose release,
Why are these fragments so known?
And now these thin oriental rugs and hardwood floors,
There, metal tracks to carry voltage from room to room,
There the locomotive smoke and the haunt of the whistle
Runs along the wainscoted walls and marble fireplaces.
The passenger cars light the loomed wool and waxed wood,
Move through each darkening room with the certainty of time,
This twilight caressing the mind, till it reaches level, like
A ship rising slowly in a lock.
This is not my childhood!
Whose memories are these?
For they can not be mine
Thirst and Consequences © 2002 by Eric Green
Published by Doctor True House Press
All rights reserved.