Jan/Feb 2017 • Vol. XXXIX No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2017 |

The School of Loneliness

We arrived in that city long before dawn, my father, me, and the creaky brass-bound steamer trunk festooned with tattered labels: NARVA, MEYER LINE, HONG KONG FREIGHT. He dragged it open-mouthed, with a look of annoyed amazement so characteristic I was reassured. Once I tried to move it myself. I could budge it an inch, or so I told myself. We hired a porter in faded-red epaulettes and a cap with a grotesquely bent vizor. I waited for my father s shame and the cuffed red pants to ignite each other; for the sigh, the excessive tip, another in a system of forced partings. That huge glass-roofed station was almost empty. Black-coated figures were moving crazily fast, hurtling as if their train might leave on a whim; lunging to commandeer a taxi; or falling into each others' arms, sobbing tears of joy. The armistice had been signed a week earlier. Children in greasy checked caps with flat buttons on top were selling the morning papers. The headlines were so fat you gagged at th

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D. Nurkse is the author of ten collections of poetry, most recently A Night in Brooklyn (Knopf, 2012).

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The Present

By D. Nurkse

We arrived in that city long before dawn, my father, me, and the creaky brass-bound steamer trunk festooned with tattered labels: NARVA, MEYER LINE, HONG KONG FREIGHT. He dragged it […]

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