On Missing A Train Stop

by Jacob Scheier

I had fallen asleep
I said, and he asked
late night? and I nodded.
It happens, he said.
I told him I’d be late
to read some poems
in Cobourg. Isn’t this
the kind of thing
you’d expect from a poet?
He shrugged, told me I could
get off in Belleville
and take the train back
the way I came
and I wondered
if he understood much
about poetry. But he understood
what mattered: I hadn’t kept
my appointment. I looked out

as the lake drew close
and seemed made
from the manes of horses
and then receded
from the window
as quick as life might actually
pass. I had lied. I wasn’t
asleep back there but lost
in the furthest hedge
in my head, where
the beast’s grunts are so near
the maples shake
as though the creature’s breath
were a light breeze.
I was thinking, of course
about a woman.
How I might ask her
to live with me and how
she would say no,
how she would always say
no, though all would be fine
with us, if she would just
not fear my love so much,
which not to be too grandiose
is a bit like God’s love
for the Israelites. Jealous,
yes, but full of promise
and about as endless.

And I stood

on the platform in Belleville
and wondered what to tell you
about today, though it doesn’t matter
now. Still, I want you to know
the boxcars were splashed
an acrylic burgundy
and seemed soft as mud
under a sharp sun
which looked warm
but wasn’t. And the sky,
for what it’s worth,
was an impossible blue.

— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 2