By on Apr 26, 2013 in Poetry

Train tracks at night with pale deer

Something shifts underfoot
as the train jolts and slides in a long
screech of wheels braking
too late.
You and I sit, presents on our laps,
and stare at our watches, adding up
how late we will be.
A man across the aisle slams his paper down and sighs.
Then the lights flicker out
and the train hisses, a final breath escaping.

We are still, stopped blank as a clock, in the middle
of somewhere too dark to see.
Outside, flashlights zigzag,
throwing off light
like lines being cast haphazardly into the black pools of night.
In the glancing chaos
we can make out hunched bodies, heaving
something—what?—a deer,
closed in on itself, a folding
of limb upon limb in a kind of prayer.
It sags in their arms as if it has been dragged from the sea,
bones surprised by the stealth velocity of steel.

We do not speak of it
in the awakened fluorescence that makes us plain
as the train moves slowly on
but our bodies know what they have felt—
the unexpected seizure, sudden and subtle,
rising to meet our pulse,
the imperceptible letting go
that will not let us go.


Mark Evan Chimsky's poetry and essays have appeared in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Xanadu, Mississippi Review, The Cincinnati Judaica Review, and The Three Rivers Poetry Journal. In addition, he has received the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award as New/Emerging Poet. As a professional editor, Mark has worked with Johnny Cash, Susie Bright, Robert Coles, and Arthur Hertzberg. He has compiled a number of nonfiction anthologies, including Creating a Life You'll Love, which received the silver in the self-help category in ForeWord's 2009 Book of the Year Awards.

One Comment

  1. Hello Mark,

    What a beautiful image and feeling in this poem. Thank you for sharing it with us. With love, Joe and Michael