Sunday, March 29, 2009

Another incident of small magic

Do you remember when we slept together?
I’ll never forget that morning, from Newark
all the way to Philadelphia, with just the aisle
separating our seats and our canted elbows
on their rests. The useless landscape of New Jersey
unrolled steadily past your window,
at first miles of nameless marsh
and then it was all those brown towns
full of auto body shops and parking lots.

I pretended to read my paper
while you made a pillow out of your bag
and a balled up black coat, and then
you hugged them and fell asleep and I saw,
once or twice, what the slanted sun did to the honey highlights
hidden in your hair, and then, I think,
I was asleep too, dreaming of flight,
and cloud kingdoms and my long-gone grandparents,
all while sitting up straight
so as not to wrinkle my tie.

At 30th Street, I got my bag from the rack
loudly, but you stayed asleep anyhow
deep into the wilds of Delaware
and maybe even beyond.

I wrote you a note, to say
that finally I found it charming
when someone took up two seats
and that I admired your ability to sleep
through me zipping up my bag three times,
but just by the breweries and the prisons,
the train shook my hand, and I couldn’t have you
thinking I had the penmanship of a madman,
so I threw it out by the taxi stand, where twenty of us stood,
each of us waiting to flee that one moment
where our lives touched at all.

Mark Aiello