By Kerrin McCadden
Dear train wreck, dear terrible engines, dear spilled freight,
dear unbelievable mess, all these years later I think
to write back. I was not who I am now. A sail is a boat,
a bark is a boat, a mast is a boat and the train was you and me.
Dear dark, dear paper, dear files I can't toss, dear calendar
and visitation schedule, dear hello and goodbye.
If a life is one thing and then another; if no grasses grow
through the tracks; if the train wreck is a red herring;
if goodbye then sincerely. Dear disappeared bodies
and transitions, dear edge of a good paragraph.
Before the wreck, we misunderstood revision.
I revise things now. I teach pertinence. A girl in class told
us about some boys who found bodies on the tracks
then went back and they were gone, the bodies.
It was true that this story was a lie, like all things
done to be seen. I still think about this story, what it would
be like to be a boy finding bodies out in the woods,
however they were left--and think of all the ways they
could be left. There I was, teaching the building
of a good paragraph, dutiful investigator
of sentences, thinking dear boys, dear stillness in the woods,
until, again, there is the boy I knew as a man
whose father left him at a gas station, and unlike the lie
of the girl's story, this one is true--he left him there for good.
Sometimes this boy, nine and pale, is sitting next to me, sitting there
watching trains go past the gas station in Wyoming,
thinking there is a train going one way, and a train
going the other way, each at different and variable speeds:
how many miles before something happens
that feels like answers when we write them down--
like solid paragraphs full of transitional phrases
and compound, complex sentences, the waiting space
between things that ends either in pleasure or pain. He
keeps showing up, dear boy, man now, and beautiful
like the northern forest, hardwoods iced over.
I am SO FREAKIN' TIRED of coughing. I keep saying "by the end of the week..." but I'm only coughing, nothing else, no sinus pain or stuffy nose or sore throat beyond feeling raw from coughing and it's not in my chest, so I keep feeling like there is no point in going to the doctor, but any time I drink something hot or breathe too deeply in the woods -- which are currently full of excited chipmunks and squirrels, while the Halloween-bedecked neighbor's lawns had two bunnies and a frog today -- I start coughing uncontrollably. DO NOT LIKE. Also, I keep burning my tongue on the soup that's supposed to be curing me and I never want a eucalyptus cough drop again, but we're out of the honey ones.
Other news was good today. Adam texted me from school to tell me that he'd been invited to a reception for the National Merit commended students who had just been sent their certificates, plus he got into the National Arts Honor Society (he's already in the English and Chinese honor societies). Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was meh (witty banter between two characters who have absolutely no chemistry falls very flat) and it was a bad idea to catch up on this week's better Sleepy Hollow right afterward (re: the Boston Tea Party, from the perspective of a participant in the raid: "You've coined a far more festive name for it"). The much-ballyhooed Whedon could take a lesson there in sisters doing it for themselves.
Annapolis has decorated chicken statues like the Baltimore crabs, the Harrisburg cows, the College Park turtles, etc.