Turbid

CSX-CSX-CSX-CSX-CSX

Stenciled letters emblazoned in yellow

On every black coal car that roared too fast

Past his window.

CSX-CSX-CSX-CSX-CSX

He got dizzy and stopped counting at forty-nine

And just stared. Mesmerized.

But they kept passing

Until there were no more.

His vantage point so narrow he never saw the end coming.

When the rumbling subsided, the warm salty silence

Coursed through him again.

He lifted his eyes to the river beyond the tracks where something:

Ducks, geese, gulls, buzzards, crows, tow boats, was always happening.

Except now-everything blanketed in a frigid winter fog

The color of rumpled old bedsheets

Revealing nothing but the darkly spectral fingers of denuded maples

And the big sycamore

Sliding in and out of focus

on the near mud bank.

Still he stared, willing something to happen.

It probably wouldn’t.

As would happen at times like this, he remembered.

He was in bed. That he knew.

But it seemed to be daylight-not night.

Was there light coming through the thick drapes,

Or was it a lamp?

He was young. Not little, little…but young.

You’re not going to like this, she said, sitting on the bed beside him;

Causing him to slide toward her.

Why was she in her underpants if it was day time?

He remembered “turbidity” from his years on the boats.

It referred to particulates-mud, sand, what have you,

Clouding the water.

Was there a similar measurement for air? Or for the fog that pulsed and pressed?

Or for memories? Or his own soul?

The more he stripped away, the cloudier everything became.

Upstairs a thump as the cat jumped off the bed

Probably smelling potato chips.

He sprinkled some small fragments on the floor.

He didn’t mind sharing.

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Rapeseed Oil

Twice this month alone

I’ve read poems that allude to

Rapeseed oil.

Two different poets writing about different things.

Once, I could see.

Twice?

Or do poets all write about the same thing?

If so, what’s with the rapeseed oil?

What did I miss? Why didn’t I hear about it?

I’ll stop with the poetry for a while.

A third would be too much.

Across the way the cat pads at his bed

For what seems like hours with that stupid face he gets.

Drives me nuts until I throw a pillow at him and scream for him

To stop.

He hisses and stomps up the stairs, each loud creak

Echoing through the house.

Coffee tastes like burnt wood without half and half;

There are no more cookies and

Only ten oxys left

in the Imodium bottle in the fridge.

Enough for three days if I’m careful.

Then I have to make a move.