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  • This morning while you were running
    and we were speaking to each other
    on our cell phones, I heard a train coming
    in the distance on your end of the call.
    You said you couldn't tell which direction it
    was headed, only sounds, as it approached.

    Through fiber optic lines I had a premonition
    that train was coming for me, even though
    it was a thousand miles away.
    The weight of the freight cars on
    the rails reverberated over the transom
    to my chest like an ominous rattle.

    Tonight my girl friends attempt to console me
    with alcohol induced ironic comments,
    "Men are like buses, if you miss one,
    there will be another one right
    around the corner."
    Buses and trains.
    Trains and streetcars.
    What do they all have in common?

    Watching old movies to distract myself,
    'A Streetcar Named Desire' takes
    me somewhere else.
    I realize the sound of the passing train
    in the film is significant,
    a metaphor.

    A train approaches,
    and while it roars past
    Stanley Kowalski enters the flat unheard.
    The sound is hiding something
    from his wife Stella and Blanche DuBois.
    Later Stanley slips out of the apartment,
    and enters again making noise
    while another train goes by.

    I'm afraid we've missed our connection
    and our boarding passes have very different
    destinations. You say, "Trains come
    for no one, they only pass us by."
    Except for a derailment,
    they really do pass by.

    Tennessee Williams heard something
    timeless in the sound of trains.
    They are the noises of past and present,
    old and new. Maybe
    they were symbolic cautions
    for life and relationships.
    I'm just grateful for crossing guards and
    warnings signs.
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