VIEW FROM A TRAIN, FROM A TABLE
On the train, moving through Trenton
at twilight, I see the bleak back of the city.
The houses we pass are dark, waiting.
The office buildings are emptying of
workers and shirkers,
or have emptied, and darkened,
have the night to themselves.
Everyone is on the move--
sheltered in cars or buses,
or on foot, rushing toward warmth.
I’m snug, and somewhat smug,
as I move toward New York with a seat
to myself, wearing my best black coat.
Even my cousin’s steam-heated apartment
is chilly as we drink strong coffee
at the table by the window.
We eat English muffins spread with tart lemon curd
and her warmth sustains me.
On this six degree morning we see an arctic Hudson.
There will be no ferry to New Jersey today;
they are ice-locked and idle.
The sun is just for fun, and might
as well have the day off
for all the heat it provides.
Without the crisp blue sky,
the scene would be
of an unbearably
gray, cold palette.
My fragile optimism
would fail me
if there were
no sun today.