Sunday, July 26, 2009

The ride back

is always shorter than the ride down.
Maybe because today the train
isn’t running counter to your meeting schedule
like yesterday when it seemed the conductor
invented new cities to stop in
just so you’d have to run for a taxi
to your crucial lunch.

a third of the way home, or so,
when the lucky ones are all sleeping
and the rest are doing crosswords in pen,
you sit up, knowing where you are
and happy to be just passing through
the ruins of this brown city, and you remember
the brief tour, the sharp angle
you will cut across these streets, with the halves
of houses, the weed-sprung yards and all
their white plastic chairs stacked high – next
comes the empty ball field, and then a factory,
beside a low building studded with truck bays
where some hour of some day, you would see
men, and teams of men, all busy
loading boxes, or unloading, hauling furniture
or maybe milk crates, or newspaper bales,
some smoking cigarettes where they stand
in twos and threes, before hurrying
back to their homes, too.

Mark Aiello