The Train Home From Work

Your keyboard fingers rest

on the chestnut colored cushion. 

It’s your capsule and it zips you up

like a suitcase, turning your eyes

inside out. The other passengers

are pencil outlines by the time

the whistle blows. You reach for

James Joyce in your pocket, skinny

and spotted, still smelling of wine

and copper hair. You open him

and he opens you, heating up your insides.

This page says father, and that page

says hell, and the two intermingle

like soot and eyelashes on a

beggar’s face. The scene takes you

and twists the coils in your legs

to a nearly unbearable tightness.

Nearly, but not quite so much

that you cannot feel your brain

bursting blood behind your cheeks,

your fingers pinching the cushion,

your shoulders curling forward

like scythes. Black spots blind you

as you feel the wheels stop churning.

Coats and purses and children

are shuffled around. The darkness

passes like a fish. You get up and leave,

your forehead sweat evaporating

into the evening air.

Sara Henry is studying English at the University of Chicago, where she is a Senior Editor of Euphony Journal. In 2010 she was named a Foyle Young Poet by The Poetry Society and her work has appeared in The Chaffey Review. "The Train Home From Work" first appeared in the UK magazine Magma in April 2011.

From there the conversation moved on to the ‘wah-wuh’ sound of the doors closing on the 6 train versus the resigned ‘sheeesh’ sound on the L, the life and bizarre death of the deviant comic known as Pee-wee Herman, and finally, inexhaustibly, the fact that, like most Americans, we would probably lose our jobs soon and be thrown out onto the streets to die.

Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story

Tri-Met in Slo-Mo

by Christopher Oie Keller

Rush hour traffic is too fast for me, she said,

rocking a little, grey hair peeking under a brunette jacket,

the faces, I can never catch them all.

The bus rocked a little, her curls Tarzanned past pearl earrings,

a tan man standing near her seat smelled her perfume.

Sometimes I name them. It was a whisper of secrets told

only on ripped vinyl seats, when an unseen knife of East Portland

is almost real enough to slice cuts of lean truth.

She must have been good-looking once or loud, the bus driver’s eyes

ricocheting off his rear view mirror. She very well could have been

beautiful now. Even when my calves charley horse

from stopping and gassing back and forth, I find excuses to slow down even more,

view rage or inevitability behind me – call that “Stephanie” –

on warm days I can almost roll down a window and touch a middle finger.

The bus stopped. Leaving now would be cheating a voice

out of so many ears. Legs everywhere stuck to chairs,

couldn’t move. The bus doors opened and closed, the only change

plinking down next to her. A stranger is lost every second

he or she stays one, and she nodded next to her,

again with the curls. There was actually very little grey. I stopped

driving because I lost too many. The man with the knife

kept it in his pocket.

Well this next stop is yours, right? Everyone nodded,

but the bus was moving too fast for any of us to leave.

Former Victoria’s Secret supervisor Christopher Oie Keller left the world of lingerie and now teaches Chemistry and Writing at Liberty High School. During the summer, he participates in community theatre. His publications include decomP magazinESteel Toe ReviewLeveler, and The Delinquent. He also happens to be married to an incredible woman who appreciates the writing process.

Flora squeezed in with Barry now on a just-built set of bunk beds, and despite their endless bickering, about the dolls left in his toy box, or the intricate wooden train tracks he set up across the floor, they found they liked the new arrangement. In the quiet after lights out they could whisper to each other for what felt like hours, until their breathing drifted into unison and they fell asleep contented.

Andrew Ladd, What Ends

The Sound of Myself, Happy

by Jennifer Chardon

I hate coffee, dirty shit-water. Not as much as I hate the subway at five a.m. Stinking sleeping homeless and miserable coffee-shop slaves like me. I press play. Every morning I listen to the recordings on my phone. My friends say delete, delete, delete. I’ll never heal. I’ll never get over you. My favorites are the acappella ones. Just you singing to me. My requests. Bob Dylan covers. Hallelujah. That one we wrote together about the ducks on the Hudson. I listen on repeat.

For the longest time I thought there was nothing harder than leaving you sleeping in my bed to get up for my shitty job and make coffee for a ton of people who aren’t you. What’s actually harder is waking every day in a confused panic, because you’re not there.

With you in my ears it’s almost okay, the early-morning hour, the bullshit commute, even the going-nowhere coffee-shop gig. Things are deceivingly bearable. The way most things are when you’re in love.

Four stops to go. Someone that could look like you gets on the train. Of course it isn’t you. It never is. For a distracted second there is only silence in my headphones, as if this moment is a fucking cruel set-up. And then I hear it. It’s a faraway sound, way in the static background, but it’s immediately familiar. Right in the silence after you sing, “don’t think twice, it’s all right.” I normally skip this bit. I don’t like hearing you lie to me.

I track back and listen again. Still there.

What’s harder than waking alone, harder than listening to you sing me love songs a year after you dumped me, is hearing my own laughter, hearing the sound of myself, happy.

Jennifer Chardon is currently at work on a novel, Chasing Summer. The title will probably change. Jennifer has spent much of the last six years backpacking, journal writing and staying up late. She recently bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii because she refuses to live another winter in New York.

Next Stop: R.Fitz|Photos

Back on October 13, 2010fitztudio​ was first featured on TrainWrite. At the time, I wrote, “My friend Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, but he does take some pretty amazing photographs, like this one of the DC Metro.”

By the end of the following month, I was sharing Thanksgiving with his family and by the end of the following February, his stunning images were gracing the walls of our first home together. Thanks to his new Web site, those same images can now grace yours.

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