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K e l l y   F o r d o n


On the Train I Thought of Chagall


I saw a long line of cars. 

I saw a big white house. 

The ground was mottled 

and abraded like 

the back of a buffalo. 

I saw a chicken coop, 

a muddy ditch, 

the padded cell 

of the sky. 

I saw a hunting blind, 

a telephone polls 

ratcheting arms, 

coal silos, 

sand silos, 

yards like ratty bath 

towels, abandoned 

sand boxes. 

No green man. 

No benevolent cow. 

No villagers whistling and 

hoisting sickles. 

No multi-colored houses. 

No woman waltzing 

on the wind, Chagall. 

It was the morning after, 

the tough rows to hoe, 

the scrub brush of babies 

and midnight feedings, 

Kansas before the witch’s 

stockings and the wizard’s 

charade. No tree of life, 

just my chalky fingers 

on the window pane, 

just my face pressed 

against the glass. 




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