Train Ride

800px-GO_Train_sunset[1].jpgIn the one hour past dawn, freezing cold
I wore nothing. You wore Black.
Was it your practicality? There was no light for absorbing sunheat
Could it have been your mind? Grief at yet another holiday
The station was warm enough to me. All the smiling faces,
Children wrapped up in the warmth of their innocence
The loving arms of warm ignorance; A smiling mother
Using her whole body to shield the future
from the cold world.
What was behind that smile?
Fear, uncertainty, love
But most of all, protection.
Your mother smiled in the same way
And you felt for the arms of your father.
A blind master of the many colours she commands
Her eyes reflected the black back not to what she saw
Only to herself.

My mask kept me warm.
All through the shivers and goosebumps
All I ever needed was my head.
And warmth enough to insist
“I’m not cold”

The train came and went within a minute
Enough time to exchange a merry goodbye
Time to see a body of smiles
To see a face of resignation
And the sadness in her eyes.
For the whole minute, you waved to your father.

On the train you slept.
Restless, you curled yourself up, unrolled,
Got into a tangle, not once did you look comfortable
But I stayed silent, watching, thinking.
A spider once told me “A simple arm over the shoulder
can go a long way” to spin the web further.

Silent and blind.

What a way to set up for tragedy
I might have been wearing blue, but
“I’m not cold”
Yet, where my arm lay said otherwise
You were warm to touch, comfort in the air.
So why were you shivering?
I felt you warm when you felt cold
“I’m not cold”

I sat next to you for seven hours
Awake or not, Asleep or not
I had eyes for the scenery
I couldn’t help it
The people around us were too interesting
I chuckled as they guffawed
Smiled at their slang
Made the world rhyme with every action they made
But the most unchanging, beautiful view
would not have been the same without you.
The world rushed past the window
I gave it a glance or two
But my mind was focused on you.
Your mother has been aiming you at God
Choose your father and touch the trigger.
Oh how I wanted to hug you, hold you, help you
but never love. A lie became the truth.
“Lean on me” the three word poem in my mind
Three simple words, held back inside
Snuggle, cuddle, hold, hug

Sleep.

You tossed and turned, dreaming of God knows what.
My tiredness only wanted your rest,
My inaction was silence, observation, thought.
Philosophers may understand the world
But they aren’t the people who change it
Warm ignorance escaped my gaze and fell to you again
I waited and waited,
expecting to see a memory of the spider
playing with his prey
play out again.
But No face-to-face revelation occurred.

I wanted to give you warmth, comfort, and help
But I never gave myself the opportunity because
“I’m not cold”

Alex Herlihy – 2010

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