Night Train Through Inner Mongolia
Now the child is a runny-nosed stranger
you've finally decided to share your seat with,
and the whole thing keeps heaving into the dark.
The child sleeps unsweetly hunched against you,
your side is slowly stinging, he has wet himself,
so you do not move at all. I know you.
You sit awake, baffling about a quirky faith,
and do not shift until morning. This is why
you are blessed, I think, and usually chosen.
Slumped at the table, alive to the words of one who survived
Early Morning Farewell to Bernie Schuster
until yesterday, what can I offer except to weep into my hands?
But a sudden music pushed out through the radio, a surprise
rises in the chest, a sweeping half-memory of Persia, or Syria,
Jerusalem maybe, the strong softness of women in dance,
the wisp of wind, the evening hushing down its moist whisper.
What have I been welcomed into so easily? That time
goes on furling around our feet in delicate surround? That
what has left us keeps arriving, returned, just out of reach?
I'll taste this delight, I think, for my friend so still in body,
so majestically now a part if the breeze, dust, air, figs, shouts,
so much the shiver of breath, shoulder, veil, so nearly always near.
Anthony Piccione was born in Sheffield, Alabama and raised on Long
Island. He was the author of four
collections of poetry from BOA Editions, Ltd.: The
Guests at the Gate (2002), For the Kingdom
(1995), Seeing It Was So (1986), and Anchor
Dragging (1978, chosen by Archibald MacLeish
for BOA's A. Poulin, Jr. New Poets of America
Series). As Professor Emeritus of English and
creative writing at the State University of New York
College at Brockport, Piccione taught at Upright
Hall, the writers' retreat at his Crow Hill Farm in
Prattsburgh, New York. His poems, interviews,
essays, and reviews have appeared in dozens of
magazines and journals. Anthony Piccione died in
Potentially, might be ...