No one checks your ticket. Outside
the train, whales arch across noise
and blue static. Take off
sodden sneakers, socks.
Get comfy. You didn’t bring a book.
Watch your window.
Split lightning flashes /
clouds seeded with bats
over slurred vine / bruised fruit pelts
out the knees of toothpick huts
/ arch from mud. The swelling shore
licks the palace lidded on bamboo / sway.
The train pulls to a stop
to take the tide in, with a few
tired eyes, dripping.
The next town lit up radioactive:
neon on puddle / every store
a corner store, each street one bodega long
/ a maze of corners / each sign a lighthouse
Doors shut on blurry glow
of adjectives. A tunnel.
A man in red embarks and slides
a red umbrella in beside you.
“What’s your blood type?” and you
point to your headphones / shrug / he thinks
you’re pointing to your neck. Nearly miss your stop.
Squelch. Into pavement’s grey inch of water.
Doors slurp — your shoes inside
and gone. Your lover won’t pick up his phone.
Cross the city’s heft / a wet cat / awning
to awning / feet blistered and pruned.
He laughs at the dank surprise of you.
“That’s sweet. But I have company.”
Foyer so white, his teeth glow. Ha. The elevator’s
big mouth. He leads you to a room you’ve never seen.
An aquarium. You’re so tired of water.
In the tank, women float like weeds.
“These / my former loves” / fingertips
on glass: “I wanted / to think them over.”
Fumble in your pocket for the ticket home. Breathe
faster. His teeth again. He leads you to his waterbed, slicks
blonde hair / watches you.
Morning retraces hot steps on stone.
Buy clear gumboots in the market square. Fail to find
a hot breakfast.
At the station, a machine dispenses novels.
Choose one about a child detective. Block
your lover’s number, pick the longer route
home, unblock the number, crack
the book’s spine / crack your own.
The train hurtles over railed ocean, past
disused amusement rides hoisted on
old sailing ships / a city of pirate rigs in rags
/ rollercoasters link decks / Ferris Wheels spin
listless off of masts.
In the sky, no movement.
Stations and a Crossing
1 August 2016