12:20 to Smithtown


12:10 to Smithtown

This is an old train.
The window—scratched and streaked,
with measles from an ancient cherry soda—
Renders everything it passes
In gauzy glazed soft focus,
As if some too-commercial shutterbug
Mistaking beauty for a muted, manufactured frame,
Had vaselined the suburbs, sky, and sandpits.
As if the blinding chrome of spotlights
towering high above home plate,
Or rows of forklifts, bright gerbera orange,
and sun-slashed into blocks of shine and shadow,
Required alteration.
As if the trampled fields alone,
The creekbeds lined with beer cans,
Graffiti’d backs of buildings,
The distant hills and houses—
As if these sights in naked light were lacking,
And beauty, flawed, were not held dearer still.


© Andrea Wolper 1995

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