When I Was a Train Passenger

by a contributor

Yve Miller

For nine years I flew backwards,
watching seasons pale in the dishwater blur of the train-glass.

In the dining car, I searched hot bowls and cups
for tiny crumbs of my mother’s voice.

I made mistakes, devoured her in handfuls, swore
her off in hungover storms. I purged her from my belly in gulps.

All the while, the earth flew past, blooming and dying
and I could not focus on a single blade of grass, no tree, no stone.

Mother – I shrunk her away and grew her back,
my cells – mud I molded and fired, shattered back.

I devoured her, burned her, and one day I saw her everywhere,
sleeping in baskets covered with white napkins,

steaming from shallow bowls. People were cutting her to pieces,
dipping her in broth. She was blinking at me with that squint,

in grayscale baskets of fruit, in long-stemmed globes of wine.
She rattled along in the dining cart, back and forth,

a sharp cackle of wheels, until I saw our bagel of truth
in the glass – myself, a hole, and my mother spread all around me.

I detrained from this blur at a gallop, this constant motion,
and there were birds – everywhere. Birds who wanted nothing,

palm trees that wiggled freely, not like my mother.
There were coconuts plopping on dirt, my mother nowhere in sight,
and I heard the sweet rain of a new city, drop for drop, for first time.

Yve Miller has worked with horses, boat engines, and barbecue. She is a reviewer of books and teaches students how to form counterarguments and write from their heartbeat. She is going to night school to become somebody. Her first manuscript is in the works.

See also: Yve’s poem Molting, and her 5 Things You Should Read.