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No Ordinary Girl (2) February 4, 2008

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.

This is a converted trailer, it seems, and Amtrak is late again.

A journey to Texas is not too bad once you’ve staked a place,

the departing Chicagoans and others from points north will strangle off,

strange smells and sometimes seats that aren’t entirely dry.

She’s back to her plastic chair, Poodle Coat, butt discarded but then

quickly redirects her path and slides her boots on the vinyl floor then

stopping, hands on hips, looking out the south-facing window,

eyes looking east up the track then turning and looking

west down to the setting sun.

Shaking her head she looks at me for just a second, wisp of a smile

crosses her face and evaporates just as quickly, her eyes drawn

to a woman and her five-year-old bursting through the door,

“We didn’t miss it, did we?” in that urgent voice we all use

when we just know there’s a strong chance we blew it.

“No, you’re fine. It’s late and we’ll be here awhile, I’m sure,”

Poodle Coat offering assurance, a sort of kindness,

from a sort of raspy, cabaret-singer voice that, if you didn’t see the face,

you’d believe it belonged to a fifty-year-old telemarketer.

The five-year-old is well-mannered at the moment, sensing a reprieve

from certain wrath if they had been late and missed the train.

As she struggles to get her ample bottom situated she says,

to no one in particular, “There must be an easier way to Little Rock!”

Of course, I’m tempted to agree, even Lambert would be preferable

to this crackerbox and the uncertain prospect of a proper seat,

but then, if we had the money, we’d make different choices.

At least, some of us would, but not for Poodle Coat or the woman

and her child, this was actually an upgrade from Greyhound,

I thought, and in the next moment Poodle Coat proved me right.

“This is great compared to the bus, don’t you think?” she offered,

again with that reassuring tone that had a slight tinge of whiskey about it.

She dropped back into her O! and I couldn’t imagine where it takes her,

can’t imagine how it speaks to her, but one thing was certain,

and at the moment I didn’t understand how, she is no ordinary girl.



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