Fall 1994 • Vol. XVI No. 4 Poetry |

Stop the World

The way things move when they're not moving. Sickening, thelurch of consciousness when you find out at the railroad station suddenly the train right next to you's leaving, good-bye to the man twirling his dreadlocks, the woman fingering her tattoo, the boy with the long neck, eyes closed, Adam's apple wobbling . . . But even if it's you leaving them, down the track as planned, carefully following each step of the argument, even when you're certain you're in control at last, often you look up from your car and all at once the traffic's moving all around you, the stoplight's changed without your noticing or has it? Mouths opening and closing like fish behind closed windows, confident, each one on the car phone earnestly explaining who started it and why, calmly we keep inventing ourselves in the rearview mirror, the one face we think won't move away from us ever: central, composed, fixed but still capable of frightening, sometimes the mask comes unglued, for a

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