Standing Naked in Front of the Train

Robert Crisp


He strips slowly, sadly,
in the great glass room overlooking
the worn, grass-given tracks,
pausing only for a moment
when his white flesh flashes
in the bars of sunlight, and he thinks
that he shouldn’t have sworn off the sun.

I should be darker before death,
he reasons, thinking of the paramedics
scraping bits of him from between iron
and wood: his fair scalp, his oysterish fingers,
the tiny, pale flaps of himself no one knows.
The men and women tasking with his removal
would whisper to themselves: did he ever go outside?

But time is short. He steps
out of the glass room and onto the
blasted porch, no longer home to the
one-eyed cat Raven. She expired
after a hit-and-run asshole last week.
No living thing on Earth pitches its ears
toward his voice anymore, and that is reason enough.

The train hurtles forward dumbly
through the throat of evening while he waits,
head aloft, scanning the skies, wondering
if something will swoop down at the last minute
and say: stop, not today.



Robert Crisp currently hides out in Savannah, GA, where he teaches and keeps strange hours and stranger company. He writes poetry as often as he can. Learn more at