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She has her hands in the pockets
of her pale sweater. She gazes out,
hair pulled back into shadow.
Her double stands in the closed
compartment, but because daylight
can't hit the glass, seems to wait
quiet in the dark, an earlier woman
who makes this journey often,
knows the train, what route it takes
across this shifting border.
Through the window, the girl sees
two, three sets of tracks, frazzle
of hillock, house so quickly passing,
it could be just a dream. Bright
things are so white in the photograph
she seems lit from within,
numinous—the train thrumming,
door handle, door handle, door—
hanging lights streaky in the dimness
hiving the barrel ceiling.
It was morning you asked her
to face the window, bend her left arm
at that loose angle, position
hands in pockets as you might have
in 1945, having survived the war
to watch where you were going
come closer and closer, to leave
behind that border and a future
unchosen, locked away
inside what never happened.
Honor Moore’s The Bishop’s Daughter is a finalist for this year’s National Book Critics Circle Award. She is a poet, critic, playwright, and editor of several volumes of poetry, including the forthcoming Poems of the Women’s Movement.
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