As the early morning train
yawns its way
out of the sleepy suburbs
into the wakening city,
as commuter heads bob
through white collars of pearl or starch,
connect their brains to current events,
sink into the novelist’s clutches,
address unfinished business,
one mind sits alert, boldly
painting a black felt-tipped world.
Like an artist capturing the instant of sunrise
he quickly covers his canvas
never looking back
for errors he knows won’t be there. . .
Later, standing on the platform
ready to begin my day
I watch his image fade:
one lone soul
creating a universe
out of numbers and Greek letters
few of us could decipher,
on a single sheet of his yellow pad,
more gift to the cosmos
than the collected offerings
of all us fellow travelers.
We tame wiry wisps into presentable
locks that frame your shrunken face —
to be glimpsed by those who tend your body
and your soul — before you disappear again
behind the smashing mask that forces
oxygen and reality on you.
We twist your limp strands that perch in readiness
to offer dignity to your pillowed head
we know will never leave this bed.
We learned from you: with scissors poised
and heads lined up, you did your Easter vigil,
trimmed bangs and rolled flips that never fit
those Sunday bonnets. Our world now reversed:
you gave us life; we give you curls.
© Eileen Trauth
Eileen Trauth is a poet, playwright, author and inclusion advocate. She was a college professor for many years and published several nonfiction books and an award-winning play. Her poems have appeared in Common Threads, Sheila-Na-Gig, InsideOut: An Affirming Epiphany, For A Better World, The Boston Poet, PoetryXHunger and several anthologies. She is a member of the Greater Cincinnati Writers League and the Ohio Poetry Association. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. www.eileentrauth.com