In My Hometown, There’s No Station

By Renee Agatep

‘cause the trains don’t carry people. You can visit by scanning the footnotes of a discarded Auto Trader. The centerfold will introduce the townspeople, a chain of white paper dolls holding unremarkable hands. There are other ways. Chew the label off a can of chewing tobacco or look in the cracks of the leather bench seats, in the January fog of a laugh. That’s John & Pete, those are the boys from my school bus.

If not there, then in the knell of a shift change. In the steel marrow of a skeleton crew. In the scabs clocking in, in the picket sign brushstrokes, in the pig iron squeal of an oxygen furnace. If those roads are all closed and you really must go, try the coal-laden trains, the kind that forget to whistle, to warn when passing through darkened, unmarked crossings.

It’s melted in spoons, in ice cream, in needles. It’s in between school bells and monkey bar tumors. It’s in the glass bottom of empty orange sodas. It’s in prescription bottles with childproof caps. But sure, there’s plenty of ways you can go, if you like. I left with the boys from my school bus.

This poem originally appeared alongside “It’s Not Like You Heard” in Kestrel.

Photo by Wolfgang Rottmann on Unsplash

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