Tuesday, 26 November 2013

He Left the Train

Overheard: He was fine, sobering up, eating Chinese.

Where it took me: I’ve had two conversations with a new friend about traditional Chinese poetry, and have wanted to explore the form. The rather tangential fact that someone mentioned Chinese food in this line gave me the opportunity to research the basics of the form and use it to write a poem. I need to do more research to understand the form properly, so for the moment, the only resemblance to traditional Chinese poetry of this poem is the use of couplets and the use of 5 or 7 key words in each line.

The poem

He Left the Train

He was fine. Sobering up. Eating Chinese.
No more drinking. That was the deal.

She stepped out for a short errand:
a year to write; a cabin at the Nova Scotia shore.

She had a return ticket.
But he left the train.

Open door yields to a tidy apartment.
Everything in place; no scent of a life.

Her name lettered on an envelope
set empty on a spotless countertop.

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