06/15

the trainset in my neighbot's basement is getting out of hand. 

first, he started with a model.
a single track plotted on a green table.
the train climbed over a mountain 
& back through a valley. all valleys
are a kind of throat. the neighbor kids & me
would take turns letting him 
make miniatures of us. he would say
close your eyes & we'd turn plastic
one at a time. cupping us in his hands
around us, before placing our bodies on the train.
i don't remember the rides but i remember
watching others as their figures 
became useful. everyone grows up
by a railroad. i had two. the real one
& my neighbor. the real railroad 
carried box-cars of lumber & coal
& natural gas. the real railroad
was going somewhere but this one--
this model train is always coming back
to my neighbor's knuckles. he is a short man,
nearly bald & has peachy-colored palms. 
the train set grew, is still growing. 
more trains & more houses. 
a whole little town.
now i can see it is a model of our town
complete with my parent's green mailbox 
& the soy beans growing on commonwealth avenue.
complete with each of us when we step inside.
i take a walk in my plastic body.
trees are growing. his whole house
has become a train set. trains glide
across the ceiling & up into the attic.
me & the neighbor kids 
we don't even know
his name. he is just
man-in-the-white-house. you should always
learn the names of your neighbors 
so you can call them when you are lost.
a train goes all the way out to his mailbox.
two of us are conductors & never come home.
another, becomes a plastic river
in the landscape. i tell my friends i cannot
go back. not ever again. from my yard 
i feel the pull. i see the trains
all of them. they are becoming
full-sized. huge engines yelling 
from his basement. a switch to turn them on.
climb a mountain, break a tree in two.
i hide in my house & the train come knocking
at every single door. track lays itself 
all over the neighborhood. 
a train is never confined to a single vein.
howling, howling. the conductors 
telling me to get in, saying
there is a throat to drive through
won't you join us?

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