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I wandered around the old streets alone
Squared like a chessboard stripped of its hues
Set in weathered brown against the sky’s navy blue
I thought about when we lived on that slow-moving train
Washing espresso down with pilsner, watching the rain
Outside the blotted window, dried drops and finger smudge
All we needed were hand motions and an occasional nudge
A smirk or a nod to see the absurdity of that crystalline moment
Conversing with strange men, crossing bravely a towering barrier
Burnt orange curtains fell down against teal carpet
They fit well there on the caterpillar locomotive, smug and sublime
And the four men, two old, two middle-aged, were a rhyme
Of character of sorts, nothing more, we smoked and we drank
But how they impressed me meant more than I to them, so I send thanks
I whistled and shouted, hanging out the elderly caboose
Blowing out smoke and looking back at the grey-bearded muse
Smiling grimly, my body shivering from the feeling, not the cold
At this point I returned, feeling assured that my lady’d be where she’d said
Back in the bar of the middle car I encountered the two younger men
Wearing tight faces they took my arm, piercing me with their sharp eyes
Turning the corners of their mouths slowly they motioned about
Pretending I understood, I finally did, and it was brutally clear
He’d simply asked if I could sit down, and he could buy me a beer
Much obliged I took his offer – my heart was much too full
as the streets of a Bucharest Friday – my eyes the street lamps’ glow
I grabbed another smoke from my acquaintance’s rough hands
And asked him careful and slow if he’d been anytime to Indiana
The blank look on his face told me an unsurprising no
Or maybe it was indifferent? Hell if I could decipher what he’d said
But nonetheless, I assumed the right answer
And promised if he’d come, he would certainly have a place to stay there
I took his subsequent silence to mean (not that he was rude)
But that he would take me up on my offer – so instead of saying more
I hopped off, leaving a number on a white note between the seat and door