Inquiry

What does it mean
that your letters always arrive
during those pale grey moments
when I’m perched on the rail
between living and oblivion
and need someone to nudge me
away from destruction?
What does it mean
that you always call
just as the cacophony in my head
reaches its apex and I’m itching
to hear a voice that isn’t mine?
What does it mean
that my psychic screams
transmit at such a high frequency,
like a whistle only you can hear
across a thousand miles
of cornfields and train tracks?
Do you know in your bones
how much I long to
ditch my job and travel
the country by rail?
Spend my days possessed
by the ceaseless sway of
the train car and the circular
sound of wheel hitting steel?
Do you realize how much
I prize movement, particularly
movement that will bring me
closer to you? I’ve tried
to keep my mind
blank as a check, boring
as a manila envelope,
but I’ve nothing but fireworks
and flamethrowers under
my skin, a wood-burning steam train
masquerading as the woman
who loves you. Smoke
pours out the stack, trailing
behind like one of Salome’s veils.
Won’t you ask me to dance?

Carla Criscuolo is the author of Pedestrian Traffic (Finishing Line, 2015). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Main Street Rag, Boston Literary Magazine, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Stepping Stones Magazine, and Amarillo Bay. On Twitter, people call her @PoeticCarla.

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