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Night Scene

ISSUE:  Spring 1981

for Bill

The train passes through the night,
through tunnels like the night,
through open fields, at night.
The elemental racket of the rails
through the wine country of Umbria
keeps the two of us alert but saying nothing,
the wind whistling the second class

compartments, our train from Rome to Terontola.
We see from the corridor windows
two circles of fire in a wine field,
perfect red arcs circumscribed in the night,
burning lightly without sound.
This is a sight we both know
will mean nothing in retelling,

that the literal fire of the two
circles in the middle of the night
will be only another event, attached to nothing.
I am relating this event
far from the fact of the train ride.
The red of the flames might seem to us now
the color of local rubesco

or the deep red of Tuscan wines.
But this is something no longer important.
The train passed late in the night through
wine fields that held two perfect circles
of fire and we two, friends and silent,
watched it pass and at the time said nothing.
It was enough.


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