the train: a portrait of four of my lovers

by Nico Wilkinson

it’s one a.m.
sleepers surround me on the train,
their shadows
shining in the windows.

we are all tinted by night, and i
am glowing in the cell phone backlight, and i
am trying to betray what i am reading on the screen:

you stupid bitch
get home now
or i’ll kill you

but this is just another night.
i can’t make the train
go any faster.

it will take years
for me to realize
this isn’t my fault.

*

it’s one a.m.
i’ve made some sort of joke
about our sex life
and they lead me away
past the rows of people.

we are moving to the back of the train
but always moving forward anyway.

they leave me, that final
sort of leaving,
and i get off three stops early.

somehow, we end up
at the same destination.

but not together.
not anymore.

*

it’s one a.m.
i spend most nights alone in the dark,
our cat meowing at the patio door’s glass
until morning. my lover works the night shift,
one of the mechanics
for the train.

i remember how
she had to clean the blood
when that boy stood in the tunnel
one fall day, and waited.

i don’t know
if she could remove all of him
from the undercarriage.
does a part of him still live beneath
all those people
trying to get somewhere, usually
home.

*

it’s one a.m.
they are waiting with me
at the train stop by their house.

i am leaving this city
and there is nothing left for us
to say, except
i love you

like it is a prayer. like it is
the easiest thing
in the whole world.

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