Still Life on a Train to Kalamata
He says he’s from Poland,
touches my necklace, tells me
he has an apartment in Athens,
wonders if I am American.
I trace my fingers on the corner
of the passport inside my nylon pouch,
watch him stare at my neck, tell him
I am meeting a friend. I switch seats,
buy a kabob from a man waving skewers
like tiny masts of lost flags.
The meat is fused to the stick
as though to bone, but the stick
is not sharp enough to kill a goat,
not sharp enough to harm
the Polish man, who has also switched
seats, is sitting ahead of me. He asks
about my watch, my travel plans.
He wants to see my passport,
my credit card. The train is moving faster,
the man selling kabobs is swaying in the aisle,
the Polish man’s questions are flying
out his window, blowing back in my window.
His voice, when it reenters, is coated with dust
and something red, maybe poppies
from the field outside, maybe blood
from a skewered goat, maybe the silk stripe
of a flag that does not wave to him.
It is a color that ought to be painted
with a fat ox-hair brush
because we are moving fast,
the Polish man is sweating, the kabob man
is sweating, I am sweating.
Everything is blurry,
smeared into one crimson, impressionistic
smudge until the only firm, fixed
thing in the scene is the stag-handled knife
in my pocket, the single blade
folded inside like a secret.
|Copyright © 1999-2018 Juked|