ou est la gare? ou est la guerre? Nov 4, 2012

in town i am looking to catch my train
here seven hours from my native sun
and where the conductors smile and punch your ticket
whether the train is twenty minutes late or not

the people are friendly and enthusiastic but unhelpful
smiling and gesturing, pointing in various directions
as i stumble through "where is the station?" but
they shake their heads and gesture toward the broken stone walls
and the shuttered windows, and nod silently
toward the men in bandanas standing in front of the church
where the old stained glass windows were smashed
and the Way has been lost

at night the station is lit with gas lamps,
one at a time finding their way through the swimming darkness
and the cicadas as the lamplighter climbs one ladder after another
just for me, sitting on the bench

at night through the country the train windows are black
and i try to imagine the grassy fields, forests, and lakes of the day
now steeped in blue cool and the shifting shadows of strained nighttime vision
and the scent of that blue cool and the sound of insects
who live in a world we only glimpse

i fall asleep to the rhythmic clacking of the tracks and wheels
and the vibration of leaning on the window and the conductor
nudges me gently as the train slowly stops and says a phrase i do not know.
i smile and rub my eyes and gather my suitcase