On the Last Train to Gladstone

Save the punctuation of small, distant lights,
the night is unrelieved, black glass
gives back the sagging face I see in mirrors.
At this hour it's easy to pretend vast swamps
and iron-bound cities don't exist.
Station after station, the doors rumble open:
no one, no one, the way a blind dog
runs straight ahead, stops to listen, runs.
At this hour it's easy to pretend I could run
through empty streets and turn a key and find
my father still snoring like that man over there,
slumped, dreaming of a woman not his wife.
The one who has overshot his stop,
who'll come to, jolted, suddenly wild.

Claudia Burbank's poems have appeared on Verse Daily and the Best American Poetry website and in such publications as Subtropics, Smartish Pace, 32 Poems, and Prairie Schooner. Her honors include the Maureen Egen Award from Poets & Writers, the Inkwell Prize (judged by Alice Quinn), and Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Jentel Foundation. (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761