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Amtrak as a Red Wheelbarrow

The average blink lasts one-tenth of a second, as fast as we lapse past each tunnel light. In the train car we’re in, zipping through New Jersey, I’m reading William Carlos Williams and falling in love with some boy’s eyes like molé sitting beside me, the same savory-sweetness you could dip your finger in. “So much depends / upon…” Finish the poem: A rattling pull-down food tray. A Jansport bag on the floor, ever-so-slightly sliding. A glance, the smiling squint eyes make, sleep still in them. I’m not allowed to say more on this. We blink about 15-20 times per minute; more when we’re talking to someone, less when we read, and mine almost glaze over, dryness growing like some furry creature resideson my cornea. For once, I’m not thinking of where we’re headed. Only eyes: how in space, an astronaut can’t cry. Tears build in balls and sting the eyes; they never fall.How at birth, babies see only in black, white, and gray; color comes later. How my owneyes, when rubbed, black out and create fireworks of color,itchiness fading to numb fluorescence. And you, now eyeing my book when I’m not looking, about to ask as soon as I open them, if I’d ever read Paterson.


Thalia Geiger is a poet and fiction writer with a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of the Arts. She is an editorial assistant at American Poetry Review and her work has been published in Pamplemousse, as well as recognized by the Hurston/Wright Foundation. She lives in Philadelphia where she happily burns too many candles and impulsively buys more books than she can fit on her shelves.

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