Bolivia

By Chad Sweeney


Alone on top of the train
a cigarette 
lit my face like a lantern

rattling above the jungle.
Seen from a distance
I could have been anyone.

I slept or thought I slept.
The train and I were made for each other.
Each the last of a species.

The jungle retired like a sea.
We cut it in half, my train and I.
We left it lying in two parts 

roiling to remake itself.
Lightning broke inside the ground. 

To live this way in anticipation.  
I don’t know where the train is going,

but I’m going there too. 


Chad Sweeney is the author of three books of poetry, Parable of Hide and Seek (Alice James, 2010), Arranging the Blaze (Anhinga, 2009), and An Architecture (BlazeVox, 2007), and translator (with Mojdeh Marashi) of The Selected Works of Iranian poet, H.E. Sayeh, The Art of Stepping Through Time (White Pine, 2011). He edited the City Lights anthology Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds: The Teachers of WritersCorps in Poetry and Prose and is coeditor of Parthenon West Review. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2008, Verse Daily, Black Warrior, Colorado Review, Verse, Volt, Barrow Street and New American Writing. He teaches poetry and is a Ph.D. candidate at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he lives with his wife, poet Jennifer K. Sweeney.

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