“Maybe She Dreams of Rivers” by Francine Marie Tolf

Francine Marie Tolf


I love her because she is exhausted and has fallen asleep on the train
with the book still clutched in one hand
while the other trails the aisle like a willow branch in slow green water.
(Maybe she dreams of rivers.)

Because her shoes are thick-soled sneakers
and she wears a brown shoelace around her neck
strung with keys that rise and fall in a cluster against her breast
as they ride the rhythm of her sleep.
(Maybe she dreams of horses,
maybe her body is gleaming and supple.)

Because her hair is the orange of cheap dyes
and her skin is a blend of browns with freckles adorning
a face that is no longer young,
and her earrings are small bells
that are not silver but are delicate
as the eyelashes that flutter now and then,
as if a slight breeze combed the length of our car.
(Maybe June shimmers inside her,
maybe wind chimes are talking.)

I love her because the title of the book in her lap is How to Create Poetry,
and when she awakens with a start,
she looks down at it before she gathers her packages,
pulls a cap over her ears,
walks out of the train into a wordless winter night.

from Rattle #25, Summer 2006
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