Saturday, September 18, 2010

club car card game

the morning train from austin
pulls in to chicago in the afternoon
a day, an evening, night and morning
in between

enough time to settle in
to find the right seat,
close enough to the club car,
but get too close & it's like you're
at a table by the kitchen ~
the food's hot, but you can't eat
with all the traffic back and forth

on the train, in your seat
you want quiet and still
so you can snatch what sleep you can
in fitful dozing of won't-quite-recline-enough
coach seating

close enough, but not too close
to the club car
i get up, move that direction
looking to kill time
'til sleep is stronger than my book
or the train-ride small talk that's
deeper than on the elevator,
but still not intimate

about my age, she's playing
sitting across from the only
empty seat
in the car

i'm nervous,
and longing for the anonymity
that's only found in a crowd
of strangers

unwilling to retreat back to coach
i sit
and we start to talk

ten minutes later,
the cards are reappropriated
now i deal two-handed spades
to take up space in the conversation

maybe it's the train
trapping us for those hours
'til chicago

maybe it's the journey
encouraging a connection
deeper than we expected

maybe it's that we know
after the lifetime that is less than a day
we'll never see each other again

maybe it's just that
for that one evening
the world shrunk to the size of a club car booth

but as we talk
and play
the club car empties
and four hours pass without noticing us

only when weariness breaks the spell
do we realize
that though i dealt spades
she's spent the evening
playing euchre

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