KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 6: Fall 2016
Poem: 358 words

Bad Transition

by Chad W. Lutz
A set of railroad tracks reminded me
I absolutely hate the way you’ve made me look at things.
The gates were down, the red lights signaling
Not-to-cross creating epileptic patterns
Through the rain-snow mix blurring my windshield.
The impending clang from the bell pulsed
As the giant locomotive crawled into view
And casually blasted its horn.

I remember hoping the train would derail,
And all of the children teeming with excitement
Onboard would careen headlong into the local diner
And erupt into a giant fireball as the engine and 
Its passenger cars crumbled like dry cake.

And then I remembered these children
Were on a pretend train ride to the North Pole
And none of them have anything to do with you
Walking out on me in August; realized they were actually
Waving small hands at me through the foggy windows 
Being swiped by squeegees to get a closer look at
My cute car and the nice person that must be sitting inside.

I drove a little farther and could feel your presence
Telling me to feel sorry for that trailhead,
That old friend’s house,
To hate this stretch of road because
We used to play 20 questions here,
A game that almost always led to talks about what
Life would be like if we ever got married.

Fuck that.

Each of these places, all of these things,
Individually like revisiting heinous crime scenes:
A severed hand here, a loop of bloody bowel there.
A burst eyeball and some kind of insect living
Inside the cavity that once held it.

Please excuse me while I swallow down this gag of bile.

I’m supposed to run a race tomorrow and revisit the scene
Of the one thing that brought us together more than
Anything else ever did. 

I’m expected to win, to stare unflinchingly into
The gaping sores ripped open by that day in August
Brace against the harsh winds of November,
Eat the pus, and just take it.

The train finally passed through the intersection
And the gate eventually lifted.
It was no surprise when I tried to shift
That I couldn’t find the right gear.

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