An Evening Train
whistles past hacked-down fields of corn, heading towards a boy who whittles an effigy of himself. We go on sleeping through sirens and crimson strobes flashing on remains no one can identify till we line up at dawn to see who's missing. At the zoo this morning, a girl found half-devoured in a moat, two lions licking their chops, Little Rock, Arkansas the only proof left on her body to show how far she was from home, a tattered copy of The Odyssey later found in her purse. Did she love her life? We warn our children not to lay their ears down on the tracks in wintertime, knowing how it's not always best to know what's coming our way.
First published in Boulevard. Copyright © 1999 by Timothy Liu. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.