DTM (March 9,1957 / New York City)

Hilde Of Vienna

Hilde of Vienna

Hilde sits in the train station,
in a glass box built for waiting.
On a perimeter of oak slats,
she sits at first near the door.
With her fellow travelers nearby,
a trio of blue pigeons at her feet,
her black valise on tiny wheels,
she is nearly ready to leave.
In a plastic bag she keeps
a warm can of beer, occasionally
tipped into a coffee cup, and
a face cloth to tidy what's near;
the prints of fingers, the lint and dust.
She withdraws a comb,
turns to the glass to face herself,
slides it back over her head and
again until the silver is perfect.
She continues a conversation
with a memory, while she straightens
her plaid skirt and chases
a smudge from the tips of her shoes.
She squeezes the pearl button
that holds the lace round her neck.
It is a scornful glance she aims
at the ones who fail to close her door,
rising to set it straight against the cold.
She must be off to observe a holiday,
a reunion with a child now distant,
an older sister still on the family farm,
a lover she met once on a train to Vienna.
She checks her wrist against the station clock,
rises to go and then sits again beside herself,
remembers to quench her thirst and that
her hair needs combing, the dust, her shoes,
and of course the pearl at her throat.

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