______with a line by Larry Levis

We’re sitting on the station platform
in our grandparents’ jackets         pretending

to be glamorous        Our expressions stolen
from old movie posters          Gene Kelly

Lauren Bacall        Behind you
The People Mover’s single dumb loop

links one casino to the next        Together
we ride the thirteen stops        one track        to watch

the same arrivals become departures        The wreckery
of road work        Crack-backed bannisters

The boxcar schizophrenic gumming his knuckles
Touch me        I dare you        Touch me    

And though I know his eyes
refract a ghost-mopped yard

far away        his mother maybe
I shrug my collar close        afraid

of the nowhere he’s found and laid claim to
This isn’t the whole story        Hours ago

in Orlando        Florida        a man walked inside a night-
club with a semi-automatic rifle in his grip and




I imagine        here        the dead
as weary passengers out too late        past curfew

shuffling on board with each stop        and afraid
of returning home to worried parents          partners

How they had their own grandparents
with ringed hands        palsy-rattled

and wore their own tweed-button jackets        and groped
buckles under cover of music        and folded

into one another        like flags        vaguely
ceremonial        and danced        and




There are certain moments when paired together
that gain a kind of lucidity        What does it mean      

American        There is something in our solitude
that frightens me        Isn’t this

how it happens        One silhouette in the scenery
suddenly        a part of it        The doors opening and

the doors opening and             the doors
and        the platform calls

darker now
_____________we’ve arrived



Perry Janes