WINTER GRACE

ALEX CHOATE - TRAIN CONDUCTOR CONSIDERS THE FIRST MORNING SHIFT 

I have reflected before
on the irony of my position
with a full complement
of fare paying passengers
I alone exist here without destination
even the driver has his schedule
and a final station
I am paid to have none
but dispense from my black bag
a pragmatic interest in distance
and journey's end
mine will always be 
a terminal preoccupation
I exist between sections
and stations
when the engine stops then so do I
it is not occasioned by arrival
or departure
but movement and the slide of wheels
I am a constant
in that timetable
which moves on but is always the same.

ROOF TILER

High and lifted up - first light robes him in a sash of gold,
while all around on a hot floor of yellow rafted air the 

day's employment lies stacked in the patterned precision
of his labour. Baked black and thin, the tiles soften

in the morning's trick of fire into piles of holy scripture
awaiting some faithful multitude to prayer.

Small blue orisons of smoke from a first cigarette
become the sky, as he begins to move these pieces

into the ritual arrangement of his practice. The scrape
and scratch, the dull snap of engagement. Shirtless

he stands in the late afternoon and meditates on
sudden idleness. Complete. Another smoke - while

his eyes move after the exercise of his hands
and glaze the seamless finish of his work.

 
 
 
© 2020 Jeff Guess