A ghost train just passed through me like a magician’s saw
Bursting my favorite reveries into one
Endless reality. I didn’t mind.
I could idle here forever in my car, straddling
These wrist-thin train tracks, decades defunct.
Before and after and beside me, other drivers
Wait for the traffic light that will mean we can inch and creep.
I spend more hours a week with them, and a cart-pushing Tibetan, and those three
Natives picnicking under the overpass with malt liquor and sunflower seeds,
Than I do with good friends.
Sometimes when particularly gridlocked, there’s time to step out
And root around through all the other limbs and severed incarnations
On the asphalt; all the years of office windows
Smeared horrifically right up against your sleep.
Eventually, though, the light
Turns to green enough times and the traffic
Herd rumbles forward into a world
No one has figured out yet how to love any better for more cash or a faster phone.
But it’s there; you can smell it beneath the axle-grease heat of summer and drone of
Where once bison blinked patiently to cross back home.
Used by permission from Mitochondrial Night (Coffee House Press, 2019). Copyright © 2019 by Ed Bok Lee.