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Contents Page: April 1, 2011, vol 7 no 1

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Penny Harter


On the Way

I'm on a train, somewhere in the middle of Virginia. Its mournful whistle floats back to me, carrying memories from long ago. Earlier, I watched the sun set over the Potomac River, ripples of red and violet caught between marshy banks.

husband dead two years—
below the graffiti, winter
weeds hanging on

Now I stare out a black window at my own reflected face, punctuated now and then by the neon of a small town, a neighborhood's streetlights, or a yellow porch light shining from a solitary house by the tracks.

moonless night—
even my two hands
have gone under

The clatter of the coupling between my car and the next lulls me. Two more hours until I get to my destination, the last stop. Yet it feels like I'm already there—on this almost empty train, hurtling through the dark.

rocking the cradle
with one foot, the mother
hums and hums


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