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LAST RUN TO EDEN — tanka string

31 Dec

“Last Run to Eden” was first published in Modern English Tanka #2, Winter 2006, except for the final poem, “night train,” first published in TSA Members’ Anthology 2006. This tanka string was included in the anthology, The Five-Hole Flute (Modern English Tanka Press, 2006).

Last Run to Eden

cold water flat
by the westbound tracks
shuddering
as car after car
leaves without me

even though hundreds
have passed me by
each train I’m not on
seems like
the last run to Eden

fading whistles
and clatter
crossing lights blink off
Iowa at 2 AM
is the dark side of the moon

westbound at last
all I own in a duffel bag
breathing different air
I leave far more
than Iowa behind

abandoned tracks
the curve of rusted rails
into red sunset—
the barmaid’s bra
lies exhausted on the bed

in our pullman berth
we burst out laughing
as our rhythm
harmonizes
with the racketing rails

cheerful dining car
then I notice
your untouched place setting
the handwritten note
with just one word

at the train station
waiting on the platform
in case you arrive
a thousand faces pass
too many but not enough

outside my window
million-dollar scenery
for endless miles
I slump in my seat
your ticket in my fist

heading home
for a funeral of sorts
riding the rails
across a golden prairie
windblown and empty

night train
passing in flashes
your face
for an instant
a dark mirage

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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Short Verse, Tanka

 

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