Morning Train
Kathryn Stripling Byer

"I'm going home on the morning train...”
                                    Precious Bryant,   voice of  the SW Georgia Blues  


So long,  so long, the train sang
deep in the piney woods, well out of sight.
As sound only, it found me
where I spread my fingers for eggs in the straw
and pretended I could not hear somebody  calling
a name I did not want to answer to,
long vowel reaching for nobody I knew as yet,

sounding an emptiness
deeper than I thought  could blow through 
the cracks of this song where I’m kindling a fire
for my fingers to reach toward,
 a kindling that transforms whatever it touches
to pure sound, a pearl, say, 
that’s cupped in my palm

like a kernel my teeth cannot crack,
the pulse of it strung note by note round my neck,
that old rhythm and blues beat
I can't stop from singing me home 
on this slow morning train
of a poem, its voice calling
downwind, What took you so long?

Originally appeared in Cave Wall

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