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Rapid Transit

One train overtakes another going the same way,

so two sets of passengers come eye-to-eye

and out one side of each train

a world flashes by, and opposite,

a world of strangers, passing slow.

As one end of a kayaker’s paddle cuts into a lake

the other end flings water at the sky.

A hand that can squeeze into a fist, turn a key,

or stroke her cheek is the perfect, backward twin

of the other, clumsy one.

Somewhere it’s early evening, but here, early morning:

into a smack of yawning air, the overtaking train

snaps free. Sunflash, stereo store,

a boy bends down, seeing a nickel—

from Charms Against LightningFind it in the library

Copyright © 2012 James Arthur
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in James Arthur Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.