Mortal remains

by Harvey Mudd

Distant mountains,
an ancient uplift of granites,
snow capped, seen glancing
past a woman who is silhouetted
against a world that slips past.

Her neck is slender.  I see the artery
tracing its way, carrying blood
to soul and brain.  Her forehead
unlined, at ease, her lips too.
She is neither young nor old
neither pretty nor ugly.
She is about right,

The train is on time.
It will begin to slow soon
and I will descend on metal steps,
look up and down the platform
but find only strangers.

I have come to this place before,
Time after time, the voyage,
the woman, the impasse.
We are strangers
and will not meet or speak.
And not knowing her,
not loving her, not ever to touch her

seems a loss, a waste.
It is desire, not faith, not ideas,
that sustains the world.

But I’ll get over it.
The train slows.
Marshland appears in the middle distance.

Vegetation dies,
Coal beds form.
A hawk dips its wing.