Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coeur d'Alene

I wondered aloud (to myself)
why the two of us-on a train from Chicago-
bound for the coast,

should be seated alone
at separate, impeccably set tables for four
in the dining car of the Union Pacific #1401?

Each of us with our paperbacks, junk bags,
and frayed notebooks arranged perfectly
on white linen tablecloths

yet looking tired and worn
beside Lalique crystal and ornate candlesticks
brave enough to live on a train.

I watched as you chewed the cap of your pen
and hurried to raise your glass
whenever the car would sway too far to one side,

and I imagined the possibilities-a table shared by strangers-
the way they seat you in Jazz clubs
if you come alone.

We are lovers of books and trains
sharing a table and a destination
with hours to kill, and poems to write,

and in between bites of your pen cap-
where plastic mingles with prose-it would occur to me
that there must be very few travelers heading West tonight

as a new arrival to the dining car
stops at the table in front of me
and removes a paperback, and a dog-eared journal

from a shoulder bag of some unnatural color
and arranges them carefully
atop the table where she will dine

© 2007 A.g. Synclair
(First Published in The Foundling Review, July - 2009)

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