North of Tombstone, 3 am – A Poem by Doug Stanfield

Poetry Breakfast

North of Tombstone, 3 am

Shadows and silhouettes, backed by a waning moon,
Slide past like California’s fading promises,
Distant and confusing.
Off to the south, somewhere over the sand and arroyos and cacti

Is Old Mexico.
A few miles, no more.

A small town slips into view,
Safeway. Ace Hardware. The usual.
A Benson Fuel glares at a Shell station on the other corner.

Ten-thousand tons glide to a stop so softly it would not wake a baby with colic.
An old woman with a bonnet lifts a travel bag over the curb,
Joining our travels. Where can she be going before dawn, alone? El Paso?
Chemo, hoping it works this time?
Or just to visit their daughter and the new grand-baby?

Her husband watches as she climbs on board,
His hands shoved in jeans pockets, looking dried out like the land…

When the train accepts her he turns…

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