Issue 132, Fall 1994
It is seven A.M and raining
when I awaken in my berth
in Kansas City. Mo. The Midwest.
Truman country. The station
is big enough and stone enough
for any president. Outside‚
men in yellow windbreak. stand,
hands in pockets. shuffling feet‚
not looking up to the window
where they would see
me lying in state in pink pajamas.
last night crossed their country.
In the dining car a man talked
about riding in coach. not sleeper.
“So as not to be alone.” he said.
“After fifty years of marriage‚
being alone is hell.”
The word has long been out:
Hell is other people.
It is not my country,
that hot and bitter fault
where Iife-plates grind at odds.
I always ride in sleeper.
Lie back in solitary state
and try to measure on the map
how far I ham come and gone,
how much farther I must travel.
I ham not come all this country
alone for nothing.