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SOMEBODY'S LIFE / Constance Urdang Somebody's life going by Like the landscape seen through a train window, Houses, a level-crossing, a school, The playground surrounded by a chain-link fence, Clustered store-fronts, gas pumps like twin sentinels, A clump of dusty trees, and the pale fields ready for haying Glimpsed through the old glass pane Of an old daycoach, gritty with soot And the stale reek of monotonous journeys. Somebody's life is spelled out Along the ragged coastline Past salty blue estuaries; Here a woman, bundled up against the wind In a man's torn sweater, Is harvesting stiffened clothes from a clothesline. By the time she pitches them into her basket With reddened hands The train will have passed by. The windows of tenements are crowded with somebody's life. A single red geranium blooms on the sill; In the darkness behind it, voices Carry on the same old argument Around a plastic-covered kitchen table. Later, someone will remember The rumble and clatter of the lighted train Already slowing down for a stop at the terminal, That used to punctuate his days and nights. The Missouri Review ยท 29 ...


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