Monday, August 21, 2006


Our lives will not flash before our eyes.
Light travels the curved walls of time
like a train whistle that lowers
in pitch while diminishing.
But when the train doesn't swerve
at the turn, or a girl, sleepy, looking for
the bathroom door, falls between cars - the light
does not intensify. There is no inward curve, no
Her parents hope she didn't see,
didn't feel the bare rail, the clutch
of wheels. Still, they wish
they'd kissed her again, pressed
every bone to their hearts,
like a fern making a fossil in sand.

They store her suitcase
in an upstairs room, an atom, intact.
Below, the clock sounds like the clack of ties.
For those on board there is no
relativity: the shriek
of the whistle does not fade.

Jane Hilberry
Body Painting
Red Hen Press