First Train Ride Together: Northeast Corridor

By Linda Bamber

Featured art: Restoration work at the Reading Terminal and Market in the mid-1990s by Carol M. Highsmith

A procession of blessings
like incoming waves crowned with gold

like the beaches and marshes we passed
coming home

         and another and another
         as the light deepened and graced it all:

the water views, of course,
with shrink-wrapped boats in the marinas
and boat-lifts waiting in the cold;

but the train-side heaps of junk as well
the disappearing big box stores
the grimy buildings from another time.
Oh, see

the ice upheaved in inlets
both churning and silent at once!
         and,
in intermittent moors and swales,

the high wooden platforms
the legislature appropriated funds for

         duly topped with messy nests
the ospreys built last year.

If the birds aren’t grateful
for such civic thoughtfulness
I am

on their behalf. Thanks

to whom it may concern
for that; and for
the loveliness-conferring light out there
beyond your face. You
in the window seat turned toward me;

your face, and then Connecticut in glory.


Linda Bamber is a Professor of English at Tufts University. Her poems, essays and reviews have appeared in The Harvard Review, Ploughshares, Agni, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, The New York Times, The Massachusetts Review, Southwest Review, Southern Humanities Review and elsewhere; her poetry collection, Metropolitan Tang, was published by David R. Godine.

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