Freedom Train (Part One)

The modest homes of the Borough of Queens
Are sturdy in their contrast to high Manhattan
Across which I saw drifting
The ashen smoke of the fallen towers
From this outpost of the city, a week after 'nine-eleven'
 
The tallest flagpole you could have imagined
Stands military-straight above a score of tollbooths
And the twelve lane thoroughfare of cars
Makes me feel like a visitor from a previous time -
But it's still that old union flag, however high it stands
 
Not a seat is empty on this sleek metal tube
That runs on its barely-subsidised tracks
Through a tiny stretch of the vast coastline
Stealing a peek at the brave Atlantic
 
A child concentrated on video games
Lends no mind to what her father sees. Around them,
Many tongues, ancestries, the faiths -
Fanaticisms held in check
By laws crafted for the needs
Of those who harness this diffusion
 
The airport which swallows the planes swooping low
Across the municipal towers of Newark
Is named for some primary notion of freedom -
But see, here is a passing Freedom Train
Gliding by the piles of industrial rage,
Seeking better ways and better days.

by Frank Bana

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