by Dena Rash Guzman

I was channeling Rimbaud when the train went off the rails. Tom Thumb the dreamer was there sowing the roads with rhymes. My inn sign would have no Great Bear, my only Bohemia would be perhaps a beer, or a Queen song from a lucky jukebox. I was caught up in supposing that the train

On board: black hair, black hair, no hair, black hair, black hair and me, if you can imagine it, with blond hair

would stop and that I’d find something Western. Fantasy. I had packed twenty minutes before I was to leave – some blouses, two pairs of jeans, a nice dress for work, a pair of boots for rain and a pair of heels.

On the street: red heels, black heels, blue heels, black kitten heels and me, if you can imagine it, in Paris, in scuffed yellow clogs

My destination was no Paris, but I’d also packed my beret. Nights I pick fights I wear that beret. It’s of fine wool and silk satin, a Basque one. That’s original. In it, I’m a shepherdess of the nightclub throngs, a Swedish cigarette smoking member of the Underground, trouble in scuffed yellow clogs. “I was just in Stockholm, you see. Fuck off!” I bash hard. The next day I’m on a train, looking out windows.

On board: tree, tree, tree, tree, house, house, sky, building, sky, darkness in a tunnel and if you can imagine it, a jolt so strong as to be freeing and I bite my tongue near in two, scream for steadiness and think of you

I didn’t pack right for a derailment. I didn’t dress properly either. I didn’t major in the right studies at university. I was ill-prepared me for the jump between safe travels and near death. I should have been a stuntman. A stuntman would have known how to navigate time and space to find all the sweet spots inside chaos, the screaming of metal and mothers and yet somehow my pen was still in my hand and somehow, trapped in the wreckage and paralyzed by pain, I imagined having paper too, and writing a letter to or a poem for you. A villanelle. A sonnet. A sestina. Free verse. After that memory, only the hospital comes, but you?

Ever after: You never do. If you can imagine it, you never did.