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Intercourse

Jane Munro
From:   Point No Point


A long freight train drawn
across the prairie like a tape marked
Pull Here—green cattle cars, brown flat cars,
silver tankers: a sentence moving its burden elsewhere.
Word after word used over and over. Transports
tying a country together.
The slow strip of a whistle uncovers
longing the way spreading a lather of suds down
my arms in the shower and watching a spray undress me
to the skin again arouses an echo of earlier days
when buttons
were for undoing. The way I longed to
speak French after a trip to Percé. Riding a little train
across the Gaspé, seeing into the backyards of villages.
A woman hanging out her wash waving
to me, and a man
in a pickup stopping behind a dropped
crossing gate, getting out of his cab and nodding at cars
rolling by, their wheels squealing.
I began to build another
vocabulary,
laying crossties week after week, imagining
a new country opening up, but I never laid enough
rail to ride. Now the wish for another language
relinquished, or so I thought,
but the freight
rumbling east pulls my eyes along its line
the way, from time to time, I'm astonished by my life—
its many branch lines—its
impossibility.



Jane Munro's works copyright © to the author.


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