Having to do With the Manner in Which we Transport Night

posted Dec 2, 2008

Why does the sound of trains passing
belong to everyone? We were
very young but didn’t believe it.

Everybody’s laugh made me laugh.
I caught them. We sang
Motown from a railroad bridge

straddling the Red River.
A bag of wine up a sleeve.
We, momentarily, glorious

boxcars of nowhere.
Even amid do-wop
our private trains were

departing in us. Without soil
or very much light. So we sang
louder, worse. Into the silence

that night alone can’t
explain. No do-overs.

Paula Cisewski is the author of Ghost Fargo, Upon Arrival, How Birds Work, and Two Museums, and the co-author of Or Else What Asked The Flame. Ghost Fargo was selected by Franz Wright for the 2008 Nightboat Poetry Prize.

We’ve published four more poems by Cisewski: “Thanks, Nebraska,” “from The Poor Choruses,” “Ode to Continual Loss,” and “The Museum of Natural Science.”