You walked through the steam in a tight black dress
and boarded the Pullman car,
puffs of white steam from the undercarriage
shrouding the train and your last look back.
A shrill European whistle
gave the locomotive its raison d’etre
as it crept into the switching yard,
headed for tracks looping
around mountains where you would apply lipstick
before having drinks with the Romanian.
Outside the station,
a streetlamp made slanting lines of rain visible
as far as the covered newsstand.
Headlines talked of wars and rumors of wars,
no nuance of why in the broad black ink.
Tightening my trench coat, I haled a cab,
opening the back door of the ’47 Packard
before the fin-like curb-splash
washed over the gray sidewalk
and the black wingtips you claimed
made me look like a diplomat.
At the apartment, I drank scotch
and listened to Mahler’s last symphony
before sleeping in the mattress
on which we had both created
the sag not deep enough to hold you.