322: Northeast Corridor

322: Northeast Corridor

322: Northeast Corridor

Northeast Corridor
by Cat Richardson

Read the automated transcript.

I’m on the horizon of a seven hour trip and it’s quiet.
A man walks across the early highway, the sun is almost up.
You’re far away and swimming. How many bodies of water
will I cross before I solve myself.

I’m going to a wedding. Being single is expensive,
especially at weddings. I try not to think about
the cost of my solitude. Mostly I like it here.

On the train, the terrain is still familiar, but soon
we’ll slide past the capital and then anything could happen.
I’m in a set of seats reserved for parties of two.
A man pacing the aisle is having the same dilemma
and the conductor is imminent. I can’t decide if I’ll be my gentle self
and move to sit next to a stranger. I can’t decide
how much of this matters. I can’t decide anything anymore.

I’m tired. The conductor has given me a pass. Maybe she saw into me,
that I’m headed to a hotel room alone, to a wedding alone,
that I stop myself from speaking more often than not. It’s hard to say
that I used to love someone, that now I might love someone else,
because I’m a coward. Squat buildings mile-mark the train’s progress.

Will it feel good to pass my childhood home and keep going?
Have I ever actually left? I catch myself asking permission, often
feel like I’m getting away with something.

Absence makes the heart grow absent. Do I love you
or the way you move through the world. Does it matter.
The landscape unlocks tree after tree. It makes itself just ahead of me.
The train slows so as not to outrun the physical world.

Used by permission of the poet.