Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

Jane's Poems from Squaw!!

Anticipation waits
like cherry pie cooling on a summer table before it meets the knife
like the heat-struck train waits for the rails the cool.
It was good to take the Zephyr, forestall commitment
while still enjoying forward movement.
One could stay suspended between loss and longing
for an entire continent.
The world shows its backside to a train —
the sugar factory and the fishing club whose burned-out piers
have turned to service as stunted forests for the likes of crows
a pug-nosed tug that slack-tows a homely barge
of junkers heading out to pasture
a ruddy stallion who necks a dappled filly
across the fence that separates them
the locomotive works on Front Street in Sacramento
once proud father of this railroad
a decrepit stockyard vacant but for a single splintery pen
where a dozen cows stand looking like they’re waiting for a train
the empty ice plant in the J.R. Davis yard
the McClellan Park nuclear reactor
At every stop, my own rough, unfinished, unsaid, unheard, unborn, forgotten
get on the train and take the seat beside me.
When will we get there?
Pretty soon.
When will we get there?
Pretty soon.
When will we get there?
When you close eyes and go to sleep and then wake up again.
Whenever it’s suspended the body knows both fall and flying.
Now the train achieves the far side of the bridge.
Land comes to meet my eye.
After a long exhale of brakes
I gather them, all my familiars,
step out into my hunger and desire
where loss and longing join.




When the bureau sent him to Kabul in 2000 without a contact, asked him
to pack a suitcase with ten grand
taken from his own account and told him
he’d need to find a place to live til his replacement came
in eight weeks, maybe ten, or twelve
that’s when the doubts began, like maybe it was time to think about a change.
He’s in the States now and the paper’s sold to Murdoch anyway
and he’s been camping on Craig’s list and living on the kindness of his contacts.
But sometimes the urge just overtakes him, like yesterday.
He’s hops into the beater he’s downsized to, drives to Modesto –
“Worst City in California,” the news bite said –
looking for a story
because in the end it’s what he does.
He finds a funeral parlor with the lights on and the hearse out front
polished up and ready
and Lord knows we all could use a few new friends when it’s our turn.
So he takes a back seat for the service next to a man his age
whose shirt says Department of Corrections and asks,
“So what’s the scoop?’
“Friend of my son, “ the man says. “He’s twenty three. Back from
The latest of 26
Modesto’s given, most of them Latino.
Me I’ve got my son on the path. He’s going into prison work like me.
They won’t touch him there.”
Driving back to his house through the valley heat
wondering who would print it? who would read it?
second year without a job, he’s thinking
real estate.
Couldn’t be that bad.



 - Jane Flint


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