The shaking 2

Revised:

The shaking 2

Marlena Chertock

In Burlington they can’t fall asleep
if the train doesn’t pass by
with its long, slow horn and rumble.
“There goes the train,” they drowsily whisper.

He asked someone for the time five minutes before he leapt
from the Metro platform, suspended for a moment
in front of the oncoming train, stretching for the third rail
in case the impact didn’t succeed.

Nahariya to Beit Shemesh was my first ride alone,
my backpack on the seat next to me, with the avocado sandwiches.
I looked out the window, overheard morsels of Hebrew,
and tried to guess my stop.

I only visited colleges with trains close by,
the tour guides shouting as they passed.
Something about archaic transportation
made the newness of school feel temporary, comfortable.

***

On Trains

In Burlington they can’t fall asleep
if the train doesn’t pass by with its long, slow horn and rumble.
“There goes the train,” they whisper as they fall asleep,
the tracks running through their college town.

The train sounded like a tornado once.
The warning sirens of a passing storm made us huddle
in the dorm’s first floor hallway. When a freight train passed by thirty minutes later
we clung to each other, asked, “Is that another?”

The ride from Nahariya to Beit Shemesh was my first alone,
my backpack on the seat next to me, with avocado sandwiches.
My cousin’s boyfriend rode for three stops, then smiled, got off,
and left me to look out the window, overhear morsels of Hebrew.

I only visited colleges with trains close by,
the tour guides shouting as they passed.
The archaic transportation
made the newness of school feel temporary, comfortable.

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