Upstate

An open ladder of tracks
fades into eventual sky.
Any other place the sky is just a sky
here it is always a horizon
beyond gray waters, gray eyes,
a soft dripping sound of more,
the drip of a faucet.

Our hands touch like petals of skin on skin
We lift them up on strings together,
lift our feet over hurdles of iron
while small change jingles between us.

Cool air’s lips, the sun light and cold.
Beside the tracks an abandoned white bucket
oozes rain.
I’m too afraid to look
at what’s someone’s dumped inside.
The truth is
we can’t ever end up here –
Upstate
– as if down or over makes any difference –
it’s the heavy state at all.
IBM’s skeleton looms as a black kite,
streets laid like the legs of a woman full of runs to the bone.
What’s laid is laid and easy to follow
Deer follow.
Hunters follow the tracks.
I don’t want either.

The whistle unravels,
the train a slate heavy moan moving slow upon us
like a day next year on the calendar.
Our bodies perch in the rocks
like small wooden birds he’s carved. God has a funny way
of playing with toys.
Only when his machine is close enough do we move closer
in defiance.

“Can you imagine being under the wheels,” you say
and then something about Russian children dying
that I don’t catch.

The air pulses up
lifting my skirt skin
hum and vibration
a gallop of steam
a pump and a pump and a pump in me
as if I could chisel a wing free.

“I love you,” you say to me,
“Because the things that mean something to you
mean something to me.”

We watch, still holding hands, the moan pass,
the last touch of a fingertip.
We came and he went,
the clouds rolling low in the Eastern sky
as if we’re under the wheels anyway.

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