Enough to Know
There is a tremor when you climb on the old train car,
a reminder of just how long it has been here abandoned
on the side tracks at the edge of town,
the metalwork a bit fragile and rusted.
You are careful. One has to be with the abandoned,
happy the handle on the side is still strong
despite the oxidation of time.
Your eyes take it all in, the restorer in you
automatically cataloging what has to be done,
where the possibilities and problems would be
in bringing the old car back to life.
You have a lot of experience. Your life is full
of things and people, yourself most of all,
restored from a place of brokenness to something
if not whole, at least serviceable,
with a beauty that only comes from the bringing back
from the dead. It has always been your theory that Lazarus
was more handsome after his four days in the tomb
then when he started; that restored to life most improbably,
he had a glow of unexpected life that you could see.
It is the same smile people see on my own face years after
you were ready to die, and did not, when your spirit
found reason and purpose and possibility anew.
Not to the same as before, but to something new,
the best of the old polished. The worst of it replaced
with something your original friends and lovers
would never recognize. Saved by love.
The inside of the train car is raw. The seats ripped out.
Grafitti everywhere. Sections of the floor rotted.
You smile. A soft wistful smile. This project is not for you.
But at times, it is enough to know it could be.
About this poem.
Inspired by a conversation with an almost parishioner yesterday. I really do look at every old thing I see with an eye toward restoration. But age has taught me I can’t restore everything, Same with people. Sometimes you can only love them. But it’s pretty amazing what that love can do.
I am living proof.
Be well. Travel wisely
PS: There is a train graveyard in Bellows Falls, VT. That is where this picture was taken.