On the train

On the train after a long overdue visit to my grandfather,
I look out the window and see a cemetery in the distance,
a human presence in artificial rock climbing an overgrown hill,
its granite steps to heaven falling short by a couple feet.

These stones and their tenants sleep as we speed away,
and I turn my attention back inside the carriage.
There is warmth and light here, and sound.

Are we there yet?

The weakening heartbeat of tired wheels flatline
at an intermediate station. Some passengers alight,
lighting a cigarette as they step back into their lives.
Others board and take their empty seats
and we all check our phones, religiously,
for the time.

How much longer do we have?

Then the train, slow as an illness, grinds to a new start,
continuing on its journey as if nothing had changed.



At this precise moment I close my eyes
and on the insides of my lids,
I paint a map, of everything:

I paint the physical universe,
its enormous stars’ dead light, in white,
and then outline in pencil, the most miniscule flowers
both blossoming and rotting, regardless.
I cut and paste like in a scrapbook, the various versions of history,
as well as every evolution of every living or once living thing.
I even color both inside and outside the lines of gravity,
with a crayon, in case you were wondering,
and to be exact, I measured out all the realities
both parallel and perpendicular,
with a wooden ruler.

And now with it all behind my eyes,
dotted and ex’ed and complete with navigational symbols,
when I’m lost, tomorrow on my way back from work,
or in the next life in a tiger’s midlife crisis (as one can hope),
I’ll follow my way back, across this work of art,
skipping over ink and graphite and glue,
slipping into something akin to this very moment.