So this is it: my perfect patch of anomie.*

I left myself
on the cold seat of a fast train
and leapt into the verge without a map,

rolled into weedy thorns
and got caught up
in brackish afterthoughts —

a little late but inescapable,
given the size of the train,
its destination, and the realization

that most of what I owned
was still on board and I could feel
its weight but not its worth at least

not till I hit the rocks
of who am I and what am I to do
in this strange place of could-have-beens.

And yes

I could have been
a passenger still burning up the tracks still
going somewhere fast

or might have been
a sojourner who walked and never
missed the beaten track,

who gave the early train a pass –
and found a hidden path
to unexpected shores.

I could be home by now
or coming round the bend
(champagne in hand)

instead of rolling in my little patch

and waiting

for my phantom bags to land.

*Anomie is a lack of purpose, identity, or ethical values (in a person or society); disorganization; rootlessness; disorientation of the personality resulting in unsocial behaviour.

3 replies »

  1. I’ve read this before but just read it again. I love the part “or might have been
    a sojourner who walked and never missed the beaten track.” I’m taking this to mean that we don’t have to be on such a fast pace in our faith, doing, doing, doing but more like a sojourner, spending time with people, learning and listening and seeing where God takes us. I’m a retiree and I can’t take the fast pace anymore but I don’t feel any less adventureous or useful to God.


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