Riding the old train I used to ride when
I liked riding trains—past pouched loading docks,
scattering backyards, a fine mesh of trash
along the tracks—I watch the shadow-throwing
sun add heat to a past that felt cold
in its never-changing present. Dull tan
flutter of grounded leaves and skinless trees
bent by speed into Munch’s clichéd screamers.
Lime and lemon and ice-blue houses hunch
proud, punched chins up, in March’s slack frost.
A whitecapped beverage of my choice vibrates
on the tray. Cars at crossings wait, polite
as schoolbook stories. The small boy throwing
harmless rocks at us is me, unimproved,
in the gauzy warp of echo. It all feels
so toasty and hand-colored, so cordial:
how the gravel of my past becomes, under
pressure, under time, memory’s diamond.