52 Poems for 2013, 22/52: European Express


by Douglas Thompson

On the night train from Dresden
we are the only people in the first class coach
a surreal corridor of empty chairs
ghostly glossy magazines
swing from empty overhead racks
like the last flags of placation or surrender
in languages I cannot read.

Our train marches forward
forthright to Prague and progress
while I clutch my postcards
of a great city’s classical ruins
the Frauenkirche, Semper’s Hoftheater,
tinted images of a heritage destroyed
my only connection with the murdered past
prized and razed by another generation.

around us sleeps in silence
the fractured city
where fifty years ago
a hundred thousand died
in one night of fire.

On the night train
towards progress
in this empty carriage
we have no luggage
we have no memories
we have no doubts.



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Filed in News, Stories on May 26, 2013