The Goodbye Train, poems by Donna Prinzmetal
Donna Prinzmetal is a poet, psychotherapist and teacher. She has taught poetry and creative writing for more than 25 years to adults and children. Donna often uses writing to facilitate restoration and healing in her psychotherapy practice. Her poems have appeared in many magazines including Prairie Schooner, The Comstock Review, and The Journal. Her first book, Snow White, When No One Was Looking, was published with CW Books in May of 2014. www.amazon.com/Snow-White-When-One-Looking www.facebook.com/DonnaPrinzmetalSnowWhite
The Goodbye Train
Some days I can’t believe it myself.
It’s not how I imagined the world, up on the roof
looking out on the whole unblemished moon,
hearing your voice pulsing in my skull,
your unwashed hair flat against your head,
your head flat against the pillow,
my hand flat against your pale skin.
I have to go over it again and again
but whatever I did or didn’t do,
the goodbye train keeps snorting along
murmuring goodbyes in the insufferable light.
I feel so old without you.
“She’s gone,” I say
to the ophthalmologist, caseworker, pharmacist.
“I know, it’s shocking,” I mutter
in response to the chorus of sorries.
The goodbye train is gaining momentum.
I can’t keep up.
“Wait,” I shout, waving my arms, baton-like,
at the disappearing caboose.
“It’s not how I imagined the world,”
I say out loud
and finish, “without you,”
but there is nothing left in its wake
except a dull shimmering
and the vibration on the tracks.
Just when I think I’ve gotten used to loss
here they are again,
the little doll family:
the mother, the father, the daughter,
the pet gerbil
until the mother loses her footing
and falls down the stairs, until
the father pulls out a Colt and shoots himself,
until the daughter unleashes a blazing scream,
a pink-hair-yanked-out-by-the-roots scream.
On bad nights I see that my whole life happened
without my consent, the doll daughter
searching for her mother in the orchard.
She won’t find her.
The garden is barren, empty of mothers.
Most of us know this story,
the story of the trapped family.
Sometimes they escape to the back yard.
Sometimes the dollhouse burns
before the gerbil can be saved.
© Donna Prinzmetal