Maybe His Stories Saved Him

Maybe His Stories Saved Him

by Liz Dolan


If it were offered, even on Christmas
my father worked, Can’t pass up double time.

But we knew he loved the railroad,
that male enclave. As the 6 pm to Darien screeched

through Oak Point Yard, she snorted smoke,
kicked up pebbles, spat rust. He huddled

in the caboose round the pot-bellied stove,
its fire fueling the debates with his cronies

about Roy Cohn, a Bronx boy made good,
and Alger Hiss. They traded

baseball stats. My father one- upped them
with tales of his days at Yankee Stadium:

Ted Williams maligned
by the press; he didn’t tip

his cap after knocking the ball
out of the park. Satchel Paige still pitching

in his fifties, my father swore. And how
Ted and Satch shook his hand and called him Ned.

The railroad was an open sky for him,
a man whose life had been derailed

by loss. Maybe his stories reshaped
his past unfolded the white sheet

on the edge of the bed. At home
his tales tripped off his tongue

like buttered peas: a 700-car train travels so fast
it arrives at its destination

an hour before its departure.
Then hurtles itself into space.

– refers from This is Not a Train Poem by Val Dering Rojas

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