Vicodin at 1 a.m.
waiting for pain to dissipate,
listening to the house
talking to itself,
whispering comparisons about us
and former families
some hundred years before.
The cats yawn and stretch,
ask why I’m up so late and what’s
in it for them?
A train approaches, is passing.
Its cars rattling over rails
brings both childhood terror and soothing bromide:
It’s taking toys to Sears
I used the same line on my son,
It’s taking books to Borders
The train jostles over trestles while its whistle
anoints the night
I run after it, breathing hard and jump--
hoisting myself up onto the last car as it passes
and let it carry me far and fast down the dark
where the weight and freight of dreams shift all
I travel with no passport,
clutching flag orders to that razor-wired and
when suddenly I am on another train that is going
somewhere final with its grim cargo
and I am trying to shout, but no sound comes out
There must be some mistake
Ich bin keine Jüdin!
No one hears my mime of panic.
Shema Yisrael Adonai eloheinu Adonai ehad
When I wake, full of shame at my betrayal, it
is to sweat-damp silk,
to sun and the high-pitched hum of the 6 a.m.
Then I remember:
Today is the 12th of September,
the day when some did not wake up,
did not board trains for their commute,
did not go anywhere at all.