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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.


One coffee.

No, haminicreem?



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.

Translation Typo*

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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1 Comment

  1. Franci Louann

    Well done, Anne. The video is a bonus!
    Coincidentally, I’ve had a “translation typo” in the link to my poem here.
    Maybe it can be prepared, but folks must be very busy here – already #39 is up.


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