189 To Constance
I saw a crying woman on a train, the trembling woman
On the trembling train -- as if it was travail, not travel,
As if it should be tragedy, not transit, not the movement
But the trammel, travesty on transportation, racking
Rampage. I saw the trepidation of the rapid metal
Enter her -- as if it was the requiem, not railroad,
The rape, not commutation, not the volts and the electric
Traction, but regret and ravage, multiplied by rattle.
The train was crammed -- for her it was deserted, shaking only
Her enveloped in the brittle shroud of daily papers
Rehearsed by ghosts in silence. And her face was fading -- almost
Newspaper itself -- grisaille that never burns with frenzy,
The regimen of exclamation marks and commas scrabbled
On her skin, especially in crowfeet by her eyes, but
That day, she was unable to restrain the train -- the tremor
Magnified by wheels, gears, bolts, rails, levers, sleepers, mileage.
As if it was, no, not the woman, but the train that panicked
Rushing not ahead, but from the past -- the giant metallic
Hysteria, the mechanics of remorse -- resentful, restless,
Raveled, forty maybe years of age, fake-blonde, electric.