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Robert McDonald

What if This Were the Last Train of the Evening?

 

After all these years, can we have a comment on the fallibility of human perception?

 

I have to believe there’s a reason why we are all here, says the woman who sips green tea.

 

The beautiful moment is always happening somewhere, in this world

and in others.

 

Fifty years might be stones in the long wall of history, stones that

desire transforms into birds.

 

All of that framed by an open window, and the stillness of monks

at rest in the garden.

 

We were young in that city but we are not any longer.

 

The frog snores in bed while the princess looks on.

 

Evidence of the divine on earth: An extinguished candle, a discarded pair of muddy shoes, the last sentence of a novel on the bus in the rain.

 

Why the need to create a lasting thing, not of bricks, not of gemstones, but with ink and voice and word?

 

The world will break the gilded birdcage of your heart; and the finch,

as it happens, runs away with the moon.

 

I find myself dilly-dallying in the parking lot of the long-deserted station.

 

The President is shot dead in a limousine in Dallas, Britney Spears has a hit on the Billboard charts—how thrilling, to be a leaf in the middle of the century’s sweep.

 

What if this were the last train of the evening, and you were a traveler

with a suitcase called home.

 

 

 

Hooray for Dusk

 

Do the gulls on the pilings have a thought in their heads?

 

Humanity looks pleasant enough, even the cities, even the rabble of bathers in shallow water, when you look at everyone from far enough away.

 

The question might be: why dare yourself to fall in love again?

 

And he told himself the grapes would taste of summer.

 

Any longing for youth is a longing to run, to run for the joy of forward motion.

 

I stumble all at once into the old daydream of my sudden levitation.

 

If love were a garden—all the gangly weeds.

 

A thousand blackbirds frightened all at once from the bushes.

 

Hooray for dusk and the barking of dogs.

 

So what if the heart breaks—we should be used to that by now.

 

How to describe the luminescence of the lawn under the crabapple trees as the dark cloud approaches?

 

Everything today in the distance turns to mist.

 

I just heard a little girl say, “No, I’m not glad that summer school is over, because know what, I am going to miss some people.”

 

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