I took the Mount Olive train
to Gethsemane
and slept through the Conductor’s call
for tickets
until, somewhere near Dover,
or maybe it was Denville,
keeping the vigil came back to me,
so I woke up —

It’s as if the rail car were a little grotto
I saw with a friend
from year’s ago,
and there was Latin graffiti
just out the window,
or carved into the cold cave wall there

‘sustinete hic,’ the command came,
while I had the strange sense
‘here’ was a temporal thing,
so I ran instead, or at least,
sprinted somewhere through my head,
as underneath the cross-tie beams,
I let the train churn over things
I couldn’t put before me

And when the last stop call came through
and the screech down the train tracks
bellowed, too,
I looked back down those parallel lines
sandwiched between Jersey pines
and thought of where I’d been
and where I was:

and when hill ahead came calling to me
in the Conductor’s voice,
his plea was soothing,
so at the last minute
I slept –
while the train went back
to where it all started.

so if you take the Boonton line
down the old train tracks
lost in time,
don’t be surprised if you find
the vigil there was kept
by no one.

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