Someone Else’s Daughter

David P. Miller

The train pulls right, it was at rest, now it moves,
or now as it moves it hurries, gains trackage
per moment. Your torso ticks left.
You put yourself upright. You can do this
with your eyes closed. Or the other way:
it slows to cover less ground per inbreath,
per outbreath. So your torso ticks right
on the metallic cloth seat. You right yourself
again and your head points to noon.
It’s half past five and your eyes were open
all day. The car was yours alone when
you sat down, let your lids fall.

The same train on the same rail
enters the same tunnel. Two faithful
train-on-track tones: the upper
thickens as tunnel walls resound
overtones against the body. Remember
how your dog always sat up when the Rambler
slowed, two turns before the house?
The train returns to open air and you rise,
open eyes, the dog coming home.

Two sandals on the floor with feet in them.
Skinny legs in cutoffs. The torso and arms
of a teenage girl. So now two people
in the car. Her face, cheeks glazed
with salt water. Her soundless shudders.
She pulls her eyebrows together
at the folded tissues from your pocket,
offered to someone else’s daughter.

It’s OK, they’re clean.
        Thank you.

The same arriving bell. The same
open-door thunk. The same car
with a new solitary occupant.