A Noontime Train to Georgia by Ren Martinez

the rumbling of the train echoes in in my hands

a blur of snowflaked wind swirls on my tongue

as I turn to watch the trees run to catch up outside the window

falling – falling – falling behind in desperate green

it reminds me of the weeping willow behind my parents’ house

where the murmurs of my father’s fists barely whispered through

and the scent of old whiskey and “come here, baby girl”

was washed from my skin like a Monday baptism

a juniper breeze rolls past weathered cherry lips

casting swirls of wet-warm frost on the cold glass pressed against my cheek

fingerprints smearing through pearls of condensation

my hands do not shake as I write my farewell

it was on a soggy July night when my mother told me riddles

a Virginia Slim between bruised fingers tipped cherry red

“If you ever loved me, moonpie, love yourself more”

it’s only when I turn away from the window

facing the stranger whose tobacco-stained fingers clutch at today’s news

tales of nuclear war and the stock market sobbing

that I remember the honeysuckle wind that carried her words

and the mint julep burning truth in my gut

“your heart is a magnolia tree,” my mother sang to me

“don’t let the summer pass you by”


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