Maria Hummel’s book House And Fire was the winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize, 2013.
“Station” is a pantoum, a Malay verse form, imitated in French and English, consisting of quotations.
Days you are sick, we get dressed slow,
find our hats, and ride the train.
We pass a junkyard and the bay,
then a dark tunnel, then a dark tunnel.
You lose your hat. I find it. The train
sighs open at Burlingame,
past dark tons of scrap and water.
I carry you down the black steps.
Burlingame is the size of joy:
a race past bakeries, gold rings
in open black cases. I don’t care
who sees my crooked smile
or what erases it, past the bakery,
when you tire. We ride the blades again
beside the crooked bay. You smile.
I hold you like a hole holds light.
We wear our hats and ride the knives.
They cannot fix you. They try and try.
Tunnel! Into the dark open we go.
Days you are sick, we get dressed slow.
Source: Poetry (September 2010)