Sunday, July 19, 2015

Blue by Philip Levine


Dawn. I was just walking
back across the tracks
toward the loading docks
when I saw a kid climb
out of a boxcar, his blue
jacket trailing like a skirt,
and make for the fence. He’d
hoisted a wet wooden flat
of fresh fish on his right
shoulder, and he tottered
back and forth like someone
with one leg shorter than
the other. I took my glasses
off and wiped them on the tails
of my dirty shirt, and all
I could see where the smudges
of the men wakening one
at a time and reaching for
both the sky and the earth.
My brother in law, Joseph,
the railroad cop, who talked
all day and night of beer
and pussy, Joseph in his suit
shouting out my name, Pheel!
Pheel! waiving a blue bandana
and pointing behind me to
where the kid cleared the fence
and the weak March sun
had topped the car barns,
to a pale, watery sky, wisps
of dirty smoke, and the day.

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