the Lady

The Lady & the Train

An hour out of Lodz, Poland
pronounced Woodge
rhymes with ooze
long time iron curtain town
gray used chipped broke broken bombed
poorer version of Cleveland
and we’re an hour north of town
walking miles to train
to take us to train to Krakow
walking miles in sun
seventy pounds on each our backs in packs
sweat streaming down faces into hidden places
walking fast to make it
Lady stops, says “I can’t do this”
takes her Grandmother’s full length heavy heavy
1940’s leather and suede coat out of her pack
and lays it on the edge of the road.
“I can carry it until we can ship it home”
I offer, but no, we go
she ten pounds lighter happier
breathing belief again.

We make Lodz train
which stops ten minutes from the station
stops and stays, and stays, and stays
eating our connection
finally reach station
look at board out of time
run to gate
find it boarded with construction
knowing no Polish, not knowing gate
we run random when woman shouts “Krakow? Gate 1”
(angel know, I wonder?)
run fast backpacks flapping upstairs cross platform
see train pulling out
Lady runs and LEAPS onto the train
raised arms catching the side of the roof
body hanging down past open door feet dangling
pack pulling her toward track
me running behind trying to lift her up
help her through door
which we did somehow
though I do not know how
go find our compartment
sit in relief
when I wonder
are we on right train?
While I worry
she turns, shows me her hand
surprised says, “I broke two nails.”

I’m telling you
don’t ever get between Lady and the train
because in the story of the Lady and the Tiger
I’d bet on Lady.

– Smith, 4.5.2014

and the tiger

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