November 15, 2005

Greyhound, Seat 4C

So Erin at Poetic Acceptance gave me an assignment recently: to write a poem with the opening line:

"The clock runs in the shadows
as well as in the light"

Here is my attempt:

Greyhound, Seat 4C

The clock runs in the shadows
as well as in the light
but still she hides it
in her pocket.

Swallowed by the humm-thump of bus tires,
the pounding of her swollen heart
and raw, heaving ribcage,
she watches the blurry world

spin by with unnatural speed,
a palate of rust
and slate
in the dawn.

Dizzied, she fixes eyes to the horizon,
on that point where the dull, potholed highway
meets young lemon light,
and fingers the change in her palm --

enough for perhaps a few more transfers
and another cup of bitter coffee at the next stop,
last time so black
she couldn't see her reflection in the styrofoam cup.

Squeezing her eyes against the glare,
she leans her head to the vibrating window,
letting go.

A shudder shakes through her like a current
and a single salty orb slides from its swollen womb
to hang heavy
on long, damp lashes.

It slips onto velvety cheek,
waning as it purposefully rolls,
leaving part of itself -- a telltale trail--

But when it lands in one final rush,
pooled, glistening sorrow at the corner of her curved mouth,
it is much to familiar
and she much too weary

to notice it's flavor
like the sea on her tongue
or the man in 4D,
in awe of her,

offering his handkerchief.

1 comment:

Erin Monahan said...

Ooh! I love the fact that you don't tell why she's crying, where she's going... no details as to background, which leaves this open to interpretation, and available to be applied to each reader's own experience. Nice imagery too... I really like this piece. Good job!

love the way you carried the theme from "clock" to watches/spin/dizzied etc...

You said you wanted some good input, and this one deserves it. Give me some time to look it over and I'll be back, k? :)