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alone in a crowd.

The train to my father’s is peaceful,

and familiar and predictable. It is lonely.

The vignettes I see through this window

have been with me for nineteen years.

The brick and colors of Providence,

The wonders of what if.

I was born here.

I lived here with my mom and my dad.

The water and the marshland of Mystic.

The boats wrapped in white plastic.

The cousins who live close to here,

From both my mom and from my dad.

Connecticut is fields and farmlands

And long, empty roads.

The Tennessee I’ve seen

is not so far from New England.

Graffiti on the underpasses,

And ropes tied neatly to docks,

Clean windows on Colonial homes

And trailers with yards full of trash.

It’s a full train today, folks,

The conductor says.

Just remember,

A stranger is a friend

You just haven’t met yet.

When the train stops at the next station,

It stands still for five minutes.

I watch mothers and daughters,

Couples, and groups of friends.

In another world, I have no sisters,

No brothers,

and no mother.

These views are my friends.

* * * * *

When I am with my family

in Massachusetts,

My memories

are shared.

My brothers reminisce with me.

My sisters laugh about it with me.

They stand in my corner.

There is an inescapable togetherness.

I am the oldest of so many kids.

I am passionate about so many things.

I am a leader.

This is my identity.

* * * * *

When I am with my family

in New Jersey

My memories

Are mine alone.

I am alone with my thoughts.

I am alone with my routine.

I am alone with my point of view.

There is an inescapable loneliness.

I am my father’s only child.

I have a good head on my shoulders.

I am missed.

That is my identity.

* * * * *

I am the oldest of my pack,

And I am a lone wolf.

I have this life,

And I have that life.

What is loneliness,

And what is solitude?

Who I am

On this train

Is someone

Nobody knows.

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