Willis Barnstone

Train to Paris

In the night boat train
from Le Havre to Paris
I sit by a young woman my age
who is from Carpentras,
daughter of a Breton sculptor,
and we are heartsick
after our three hours. We know
we’ll never meet again
except she will remember
me, our hands, and I her,
though I learn in 1956,
four years after our night,
she died on a Paris street
when a car crushed her
from behind. In her grave
we are sitting cramped
but our conversations never
run out of gravity.
Down from the train of time
(I piss on time), we endure as souls
and our scandals create us
on the platform kissing.

Willis Barnstone
Willis Barnstone is a director of From the Fishouse. He is the author of more than a dozen collections of poetry; the most recent is Life Watch (BOA Editions, 2003). Train to Paris is the first poem in that collection.
Poem, copyright © Willis Barnstone, 2003
Appearing on the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse