Each time those doors slide shut, as the bells
ding-ding through my hotel room's open window,

I remember: years ago, underneath the airport concourses—
another bell, my children not yet inside the rail car

and I'm sliding into the tunnel away from them,
like the billions of flowers

for a pound of honey and later,
at the edge of my lip, just a trace.

Cruel Atlanta, my younger in the Braves
T-shirt I'd bought him that day.

He's going to enlist, he said last week.
Why the Army? I ask and ask.

I had yelled Stay Right There! through the windows
as the tunnel took me.

Each pair of eyes in my car wide, silent,
moving half a step back.

I didn't know the glass was too thick.
Got off at the very next stop—it took years

to decide whether to jump
the next train back or find a guard.

IEDs, snipers—Why not the Navy,
like your Granddad?
I was fine

till the guard asked what they were wearing.
And the taller one's brown-haired, the younger

boy, blond?
she asked, not meeting my eye. My voice
broke while she looked past my shoulder, toward the rails

where those two were getting off a train
like its improbable blossoms and running toward me.

 

 

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