Grandma Built a Railroad

She said: Son, I built a railroad.
Her gold tooth reflected
light, but it wasn't a smile on her face.
It was grey lightning in her eyes.

Close your eyes and cringe, son,
but don't let on you see grey lightning.

Streaks of grey play hide and seek behind monkey bars.

As raindrops fall
even without parachutes.

And one cigarette is good
for a few puffs;
while grey streaks hide and go seek.

Because Grandma built a railroad,
and ash drowns in puddles.

Monkey bars do not whine, do not resist,
as water wraps itself around cold steel.

They are the sentries, and I am too fat,
too old, too brittle, to climb on, to swing; to get far.

She had grey streaks in her eyes, my Grandma,
when she tried to smile.

The one who climbed monkey bars.
She took her lightning.
And is gone now.

Red eyes watch my cigarette stub,
trying to keep dry in this rain.

Somewhere there's a railroad.
As a toaster grunts
and bread flies--
slicing the air.

Susan Gorgioski

If you've any comments on this poem, Susan Gorgioski would be pleased to hear from you.

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