A. L. Buehrer What I Write and Why

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Red Robin

I always stare at graffiti on train cars and wonder....

The Red Robin

a red robin is traced in bleeding paint
 not red like a rose or a ruby
like blood--thin blood
not bright and fresh, but not dry yet
the silhouette of the perching thrush is a shadow on the tanker car
a bird that migrates by train
 the symbol of something
 someone perhaps
 the rainy Midwestern underworld speaks in hieroglyphs
images that fade quietly in the sun of early spring when the trains move
 among formless scribbling of illegible nonsense
and words in garish blocky lettering like crumbling concrete
stains like blood run down the cars
it's only rust that bleeds from bolts and hinges
 there's also a robin
a bird from Europe
messages that migrate by train
 as they drift farther and farther from where they began
their meaning fades quietly in the sun of early spring
 it's only a red robin
traced in bleeding paint
not like a ruby
like blood
in the rain

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