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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, October 31, 2016.
About this Poem 

“Wordsworth describes a poem as something half remembered, half invented, which this one is. Since I have a very bad memory, I was able to use the images from a recent train trip to Rhode Island as a means of extending and embedding the brief, odd story of meeting my father for the first time, which did indeed happen in a train station.”
—Lynn Emanuel

From a Train

After night’s black abandoned truck—
morning is locked down tight,

and the sky’s brewing up 
some trouble.

So far at the bottom of this
moment, she could fall off.

Coat hem. A pair
of sultry shoes. She is five.

Small for her age.
Meeting her father for the first

time. Union Station. Denver. 
Behind the harsh horizon

beyond the tracks, a dark
wildness over the swing set,

brick yard, development.

Little nowhere, where
Did you come from?

The train roams through
the gone and vanquished,

some pale, soft voice talking.
Spooks. Phantoms.

He is the unclosed
cut of her.

Find the missing
dark scythe. Find

the jawbone of an ass.
Dead wood, cemetery, oil vat

shooed away—harried—
by the train’s advance.

First this, then that, then
a thrush’s three notes happen

all at once at once at once

and a figure
in a red hat.
 

Copyright © 2016 by Lynn Emanuel. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 31, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Lynn Emanuel. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 31, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Lynn Emanuel

Lynn Emanuel

Born in Mt. Kisco, New York, in 1949, Lynn Emanuel is the author of several books of poetry, including The Nerve of It: Poems New and Selected, winner of the 2016 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, andThen, Suddenly—, which was awarded the 1999 Eric Matthieu King Award.

by this poet

poem
Right now as I am talking to you and as you are being talked 
to, without letup, it is becoming clear that gertrude stein has 
hijacked me and that this feeling that you are having now as 
you read this, that this is what it feels like to be inside 
gertrude stein. This is what it feels like to be a huge type--
poem

I love its smallness: as though our whole town
were a picture postcard and our feelings
were on vacation: ourselves in mini-
ature, shopping at tiny sales, buying
the newspapers—small and pale and square
as sugar cubes—at the fragile, little curb.
The way the streetlight is really a

poem
I strolled through the neighborhood of beautiful houses
All of which I had written

Down the long dark street
Past the cemetery

Where all the tombstones
Had my small white face.

Over my shoulder burned the lamp
Of the moon.

The pages, in the wind, flew, were fluffed and ruffled
Like water by stones into a