Lines from a French Train

Composed on a train somewhere between Paris and Montpellier, October, 2019

Sometimes, it is easier to find the whimsy

when there is no memory of a place.

Sharp jagged edges can polish themselves

out in conversations with fellow travellers.

Their questions are better than

my unqualified answers.

Laughter jumbles out, jostling about in

the accidental chaos of shared days –

days made strong in the looking

away from the timekeepers and toward

their owners. Remember,

we must all live our lives on our heels

sometimes. Then, we unburden our-

selves in the company of strangers.

I don’t assume the elbow room was mine.

This kicking straight of cramping

knees was not an action reserved for

my taxable legs.

I don’t pretend to know the steps to a dance

composed without my song, by other tribes.

Their rainbow isn’t signed by my god.

Nor is the stretching road built with

me in mind.

I don’t expect my expectations to equal

the readiness of others to serve them.

I don’t believe, even for a minute, the whisperings

of my inserted presence, that my voice

gets top billing, priority, and loudest.

My tongue is not the first or strongest, the purest,

or even necessary.

It is only,

mine.