Train Memory

trainrussia

Train Memory

I relished the romance
of riding a sleeper train
from St. Petersburg to Moscow.
Modern engine lapping
the miles at night,
speeding me to dawn’s destiny.
The train’s
clackety-rolling,
clackety-rolling
cradled sleepy dreams
of Russian villages nestled
hard and warm against the snow.
Poet and doctor Zhivago’s train
teeming through miles of
Russian pristine winterland.
A refuge and rendezvous
crystal palace of icicles
a fairy tale, frozen in time.
But the train’s romance derailed
jolted
at the thought of
thousands of Jews
packed into boxcars like living
stinking fish smothered into rusty cans
shipped unjustly,
sentenced to death camps
to work
to die for
one man’s rancor
and the calling to bless the earth.
That memory,
a generation removed,
just ruined trains for me.

-original, Moscow, Russia, 1996


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