TRUDGING UP THE BLACK STONE HILL
And moths have been at the wool of the watch cap.
His jacket’s missing a button at the neck,
his muffler, left at home on the table behind the sofa.
Looking back at that
string of dark-windowed houses
that huddle as close to the tracks
as they can bear.
They’ve all been emptied by this time of day,
the children gone to their schools,
the men and women gone to the work
that pays for mortgages
and heating oil,
for the TV cable,
and the credit cards.
He reaches the crest, where the wind
makes him wish he’d brought the muffler,
and he wonders whether having a dog
might mean the day would be less lonely.
A train snakes away from the station,
past the silent houses,
winding the slow curve out of town
across the trestle, and over the river.
Comment: I actually imagined this poem from the inside of a train car, making its way on a cold day through a very dreary Connecticut. There was a guy, trudging up a small hill, looking chilled. He should have worn his muffler, I thought, and then I turned the tables and occupied his persona.
Bio: Harry Youtt writes poems and short stories that have garnered a couple of Pushcart nominations. For a long time, he’s been teaching creative writing classes and workshops (fiction, non-fiction, poetry) in the U.C.L.A. Extension Writers’ Program. He’s on the Editorial Board of the international Journal of Consciousness, Literature and the Arts.