Your father steps on board the train of ghosts.
You watch him from the platform:
somehow, he doesn’t look as old
as you expected him to be.
You think this must have something to do
with the light, or maybe
how much bigger the train is.
It stretches down the track
a long way, as far as your eyes can make out.
It’s like a black bullet
that keeps speeding toward you,
you think, and then:
No, it’s like a very long train, that’s all.
Somewhere on board the train, your father
is choosing a seat. Maybe
he’s already found one, has settled in,
picked up a magazine or newspaper
someone else left lying there,
is flipping through it, idly.
Maybe he’s looking out the window, for you
you would like to think, waving,
only you’ll never see it
because of the reflected glare.
Or maybe he’s not looking for you at all.
Maybe he’s watching the hot air balloons
that have just appeared
all over the sky, ribbed like airborne hearts
of the giants Jack killed.
In the stories, Jack has no father.
This would explain a lot, you are thinking
as the train begins to pull away:
his misplaced affections,
stealing the harp of gold that played
all by itself. Around you,
men and women and children
are standing on the platform, shouting, waving,
The wind is cold; it must be March.
You would want that kind of music
if you were Jack, wouldn’t you?
G. C. Waldrep
About G. C. Waldrep