Train; December 16, Cold-Static Day, Not Very Crowded
by Max Gilman '25
Heat screams with no place to hide,
Spewing, steaming, pushing, stewing—
Stirring beneath stretching ceiling tiles,
I listen because I am willing,
Whining through ear holes
I used to tell her I would be unbreakable when I got older.
And I’ll never again comprehend
what the hell that word ever meant to me,
My mother sits by the train window
my hands sit by the legs
waiting for a tacking,
a buzzing will tell my thigh the head
is happy— a mere vibration.
The clawing on the other side of the wall,
pretending ears full,
fingers like a drenched rat—
when I make eye contact for the second time
with the same pair of glasses three seats down.
On train, bathroom is escape, if needed.
the clearest reflection ever seen
is a mirror coated in dirt, cracked several ways down the middle.
But train freedom—
is the last thrill, entering wind like a bird.
mother was never meant for the prior,
on a train, for no destination.
The gale will guide her.
unbreakable like the sky;
the lie of the train, time,
the line of the yarn ball tangled beneath the steel wheel,
and nothing on a train lasts more than hours,
days, and strangers with lives that die in your mind
days after the trip.
Her and I never talk about the things we care about
Or maybe it’s I who avoids those things,
In the silence of a train bathroom
You can hear the world complicate,
Vibrating the bumpy tracks beneath,
And authority becomes you and the nothingness
Because derailization could be death,
But still never tell her the things I care for.