ANNE HARDING WOODWORTH
★ ★ ★ ★
At the Drive-Thru, 5 a.m.
Out of thin air, a disembodied voice
rings out like a musical cadence:
One small fries
and coffee with cream.
She drives up to the next window,
hands over a dollar bill and six quarters,
takes the fries and gives them to the child.
She puts the coffee with two creams on the dash.
They drive out of the city,
humming a song she knew the words to.
It always feels good—with her son
by her side—to hum a tune at dawn,
words strung together in her mind,
in a sustained pulse. It’s all right.
Sound of the rain should’ve been
sound of the train. Hungry children swarmed
when they heard it, ran out of the small hut
across the street from the station, wildly
and without umbrellas. They danced for pennies.
Right now I’m listening to the sound of the rain
mixed with wind in a forest, organic sound
on earth, coming furiously from someplace else
bringing with it pollen, acid, soot, particles of the sky
down on metal like the siding of my house, my car,
the root cellar doors. The wind and rain turn the forest
into a shine, waxy like the galax under the canope.
The wind speeds up into an almost-hurricane sound,
almost-train sound until it slows and comes to a stop.
The children run outside to play before dinner.
I hear the UPS truck shifting gears,
as it climbs up to our house. There is steam.
Vapor shoots out in a mist of clouds. The sound
of the rain could’ve been the sound of a train.
* “Images” by Valery Larbaud (1881-1957) “From which, at the sound of the rain, ragged children swarm forth.” trans. by William Jay Smith, in A Book of Luminous Things, ed. Czeslaw Milosz
Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of six books of poetry, with a seventh coming in 2020. She also has four chapbooks, including The Last Gun, an excerpt from which won the 2016 COG Poetry Award, judged by A. Van Jordan. It was subsequently animated and which you can view below.
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