In Germany on June 18, 2009 at 12:00 am


My train burrows

through Westphalia,

a savvy silver worm

that eats through brick

and spraypaint-slashed concrete—

a snatch of street

and smears of terra-cotta roofs

flicker humbly past the window,

pocked with cars,

insectoid bikes,

juts of pipe and chimney.

Only clouds pass calmly,

washed across the sky

like soap on quickly mopped parquet.


Cathedral spires

spike the comatose horizon—

the hour turns

but the train-car’s glass is thick

and armors out

the peel of noonday bells.


My locomotive mines

through Essen,

city of gears and whistles,

then digs beyond the smokestacks,

breaking ground in Düsseldorf,

where coats hang low

and hair is flared,

the boots clack loud,

and spectacles shape squarely.


The tunnel ends

but light is just as scarce.


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