At Night I Dream of Trains by Pamela L. Taylor

November 30, 2013 | By | 3 Replies More

the maze of stairs, the ramps

leading me to the next

platform, the slow crawl

of bodies, the pardon me, excuse me

they don’t seem to hear, my half-walk

half-jog through the bowels

of my native city, the worried

pacing, waiting in the middle,

thinking I’m safe, the train

with two cars, the doors that don’t

open, my run turned sprint, shoving

people through doors

like they do in Japan

(except this is not Japan),

the sideways sway of metal

moving through underground tunnels,

blurring the blue and white tiled station names,

the slow ride or stuck train, enough time

for anxiety to creep into my throat,

my panicked heart clutching

for a miracle or luck or whatever power

to jumpstart the journey again,

my brother shouting

where to cross the tracks,

my sister waiting

on the opposite side,

my father no longer

wearing his transit uniform,

seeing him there, wrapping my arms

around his waist, carrying my grief

into the dark morning,

my father telling me

which ramp, which train, which subway car,

my father holding me

for as long as I need before I go.

Pamela L. Taylor is a data guru by day and a poet by night. She is a co-organizer of Living Poetry, a group that organizes and promotes poetry events throughout the Triangle area of North Carolina. When Pamela is not working or writing, she’s dancing Argentinean tango. In 2016 she relocated to Boston. Read more of Pamela L. Taylor’s poetry published on When Women Waken. Pamela writes at A Poet’s Double Life.

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Category: African American, Grief, Poetry, When Women Waken Literary Journal

Comments (3)

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  1. I love the frantic feel of this poem – the pace, which is so real when one is faced with death. I remember the plane ride out to Tucson when my son died and how unreal everything seemed and how the need to arrive took precedence over anything else, how you had to be there as quickly as you could even though there was nothing to be done.

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