It is nearly too banal for us to understand:
This bumbling train
was the second
one out this morning. We missed the first in wild
disarray. My sister is the difficult one.
When she bends up her contentious form, she will untwist for nothing!
To the unglazed eye, this could seem like nothing.
My sister doesn’t understand
why Mom packed her the bruised peach, and me the good one.
Anyway, peaches are too messy to eat on a train,
where one must be mild,
fold hands, and count each second.
A floating nuclear plant stretches and contracts into a second
of chromatic blur. Blink and see nothing
but eyelid. Blink and miss wild
fir, bridges, workmen. The shapes outside the window seem to understand
Each other, in curving forth beyond the train.
And I am like the hot morning air for being on one.
I count one, Garrison, two Valleys, one commuting professor, then a second.
Most anyone can train
herself to relish menial things. Nothing
is beneath celebration. Not even this cracked seat, face backwards. I do not understand—
My sister rides so silent and mild.
Here is the lull, amidst or after so many wild
days and nights on docks and platforms. We need just one
smooth ride on the Metro North to understand
ourselves as travelers first, and settled or settlers second.
There is nothing
that can substitute a train.
And if my body were a train
—cars linked, tinted in mild
rust, and still going—I’d stop at nothing,
gather my fumes of exhaust in a stovepipe lung, following one
iron track as though it were the best and only place, letting every second
settle like dust at my sides. I suppose I hardly understand.
I wonder how, as it churns like a train, the next plod will flatten these to nothing,
(once wild for their novelty in my hands) these seconds.
My sister lets out one cough, then another cough, then we get off, before I understand.
Abigail Sylvor Greenberg is a high school student living in New York. Her writing has been recognized with more than sixty Scholastic Writing Awards and nine National Medals. In addition to writing, she enjoys watching comedy and drinking coffee.