An Old Poem

Here’s an old one that I just realized I’ve not shared. 

 

Reaching T_______

 

 

On a train stop to T______ I discovered
the smallest freedoms: footsteps 

of a kitten running toward the station exit
right when the car doors slide open,

a chime over the speaker system
cut off by our immediate departure,

a woman on the end of the train
on the speaker, repeating thrice

the next stop. I thought:
who makes a living like that—

who spends their whole lives
announcing where they’re headed

to anyone who’d listen? I stood at the next stop
whispered a name to myself, thrice,

walked across the platform, and waited
for a train going the opposite way.

The cold has a funny way of making you move
into and out of places—cities

or rooms, pockets or scarves.
All of them, if the cold is uncommon enough.

All I know is when I’ve returned
to Manila, all I will take

home is this winter
in a nameless town

of only noun, number, and color:
Lone Black Orchid, they’d call it.

Or Teawater. Or a Field of Cranes.
In whichever of these places, I believe,

hides the human soul: a newly opened bookstore
in a quiet district, flowers by the open door,

snow on the doorstep, a waving gold cat,
awaiting its first customer. 

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