Jane Hilberry

Train Whistle

I wake up to my lover on the phone,
singing his repertoire of train songs.
He does an impressive train whistle,
mixing it liberally into every song.
His favorite is the one his father sang,
about not using the bathroom
while the train is in the station.
It’s set to the tune of the Humoresque,
and moves abruptly from toilet etiquette
to a conclusive “I love you.”
I’m glad to be serenaded out of sleep,
humored into the day’s happiness
by my exuberant lover, who might
be unhappy if he could manage
to care about what’s past. I haul
my past with me like a freight train.
It’s how I know that I am real:
when I pull forward, something resists.
But this morning I’m still in bed,
and my hips begin to sway,
my whole body humming
he way a train does
after the engine starts up,
and my lover, like an unruly
passenger, is singing his train songs
to get the day moving,
making his very impressive
whistle sound at every chance.

Jane Hilberry
Train Whistle is reprinted from Body Painting, (Red Hen Press, 2005).