Child on a Pullman

SUCH privilege was his to stay bewitched,
To ride those sundown rails above the world.
But the furious train, passing each right-of-way,
Outsteps his map, his childish look,
And suddenly transforms its character,
Leaps flat on wheels round a slickered hill.
Derelict, he rocks at twilight now,
A face in a metal cloud of hopelessness.
No doors open down the unmarked plains,
Through fog the engine hammers, in dark he haunts,
He keeps his fear: wheels forget and slow;
Glass rattles twice and he is nowhere.
Falsity of hello, hello and good-evening
Greets him under the station’s foreign sign
Where endlessly trailed by unaccountable baggage,
He sets his exiled face toward home.
For what he finds leaps heavy at each door,
A draft at corners pounces for his breath.
Here nothing cries reprieve, the bells beat back,
Ringing such loss he cannot hold.