Life of a Train

Matthew Lippman

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Charlie bought me a train because he loved me. I loved him.
It was a choo choo train. We got on it and rode to Italy, right across the waves.
He’d never been to Italy. I’d been once.
To Florence where all the pastry was Italian.
We ate a lot of it and talked Italian and made love to Italian women
in Venice and in Perugia
in Italian.
We drove Ferraris in Italian
and spoke Italian in Italian.
We drove the train to Michelangelo’s David
and ploughed through him
to get as close to the stone as we could,
made a mess of the man, his big hand
flopping around the floor of The Academy
like a trout snatched out of the Saint Lawrence river in winter.
The train helped us clean it up,
put David back together like nothing had ever happened.
It was that kind of train. The kind that would not only take you places
but cared about the places it took you—the mountains, the valleys,
the rivers and green hills.
When it brought us home we were all very sad—the train too.
My sadness made me say mean things
the way you say things mean before departure:
Charlie, I don’t like this train you gave me anymore.
When you hurt my feelings, he said, I don’t care.
I will love you more than its whistle can announce arrival.
Charlie knows that when you have a magical thing
it will always stay magical
no matter how many times you try to crash it into a symphony in a symphony hall
or a bedroom in spring
with the windows wide open
and the white sheets still crumpled from the night before.


ART: Zachary Tate Porter, Jeannie Vanasco

FICTION: Katya Apekina, John Henry Fleming, Lacy Arnett, Claire Harlan Orsi, Chantel Tattoli

NONFICTION: Emily Carr, Nancy Singleton Hachisu, Johanna Stoberock, Steve Wasserman

POETRY: Janelle Adsit, Ryan Bender-Murphy, Monica Berlin & Beth Marzoni, Dan Chelotti, Lisa Ciccarello, Christopher DeWeese, Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney, Tyler Gobble, Fanny Howe, Lo Kwa Mei-en, Nick Lantz, Matthew Lippman, Aditi Machado, Alice Miller, Marc Paltrineri, Christopher Rey Pérez, Allan Peterson, Jessica Poli, Lynne Potts, Dan Rosenberg, M. C. Rush, Ed Skoog, Cindy St. John, Russel Swensen, Emily Toder, Laurie Saurborn Young

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