USA/CANADA by Amtrak

By the railway lines
    pools of melting snow
        I think I dropped
out of the sky too
the train travels slowly
there's a problem with
        their signal system
so we travel like this
waiting for a favourable
I fell out of the sky
    three times getting here
into a balmy Nadi night
where only Fijians
once confined at Honolulu
stopped overnight in L.A.
before the second King verdict
had dinner at a diner
      the waitress memorised
our group order! I had a lukewarm
hot turkey sandwich
I rose over the continent
      like a vapour
spoke English French Maori
in a breath
      looked down and saw
the Grand Canyon
Cree Inuit Delaware
the snow thins past Montana
into the colours
and the sweetgrass
my penfriend meets me
      at the Ottawa airport
the ink of a lifetime
Bruce says Otaua
is his maunga
      in Ottawa

power lines lean into
        the mud
then right themselves
our favourable indicator
shows up
      the train shakes
    tilled mud
    bare trees
my watch at 12.05
Tamanui the sun
      limps here
he has no confidence
to radiate the clouds
lacks his Desert Rd toughness
water rules
redness the colour of young deer
green coming out
brown is the earth and rivers
yellow hay white trees
black trees
I am full up
we hold hands
belong in the sacred circle
rivers fill their sides
beside me

© Robert Sullivan 1996