Dear Epictetus, this is to you attributed:

This entry is part 68 of 73 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2011-12


Thou art a little soul bearing about a corpse.
And even then you were talking to all of us, weren’t you:
ghostly presences in a future that we now inhabit,
tumbling swiftly from one gate to another. Last week,

moments before the train departed the platform at the Jackson
Street station for O’Hare and the flight I had no idea
would be canceled three times before I could board— a woman
got on, breathless, asking passengers nearest the doors:

Chinatown? Chinatown? She had on a thin cloth coat,
and her short bob of greying hair was plastered to her forehead.
No one even blinked. Perhaps they couldn’t hear from whatever
was playing on their earphones, or maybe they were tourists

with no idea either. Before the doors swung shut I caught
her eye and shook my head; yelled Red line, red line, and she
darted off. I don’t know if she ever made it to her destination,
whatever that might have been. And in a related meditation

I read how Time is like a river made up of the events which
happen, and a violent stream: for as soon as a thing has been seen,
it is carried away, and another comes in its place
… Therefore,
all that afternoon into evening, as thin snow began to fall again

on the tarmac, streaking the windows, chilling the glass,
seats filled and emptied, emptied and filled; and it is
as though the blue light flickering near the ceiling
of the concourse were that same river’s garment.

Passengers anxious about missed connections watched
as TV monitors showed footage of town after town in southern
Indiana hit by a single tornado— New Pekin, Henryville,
Marysville, Chelsea— before it crossed the Ohio River

into Kentucky. The hours stretched, and in their fluid arms
there might have been the call of the mourning dove, there
might have been a sparrow slight as the child borne aloft
before the dark column of air set her down in the field.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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