portion of the artwork for Gail Peterson's poetry

Facing Backward
Gail Peterson

Trees streaming by
in the light that made morning
do not distract me, face in a book as
the train trundles past peeling gray houses,
their backyards, poor kids, pants on the line.
For years, I’ve taken in vanishing
dioramas—even the best become less
enthralling than their description.
I know the land opens up—
through greens and a yellow that brightens
the pale edge of day … the rough down of grass
on oak-stubbled hills … trembling steel
announcing a bridge … a tunnel that roars us
through granite … trains of cloud steaming along
the horizon. Without looking up I can see it all
heading to where I’ve been.

New passengers board who need my seat.
When I shift across, the view pulls me in—
the backs of everything rushing past. Like pages
turned too fast to read, instant history
that can’t be reclaimed. I hope the boy by the tracks
waves to me, so I can wave back.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 34 | Fall 2011