CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Stations
Joseph Campana



1.   First, Audrey is in the garden. She will be there in the end. The train she expects never comes. Audrey is betrayed: at last, in the garden. The train that comes is never the train that departs. You catch what you can. There were voices shouting for her: odi et amo. The hiss of history. Time is the kiss is the hiss of history. Handed to you as you are to it. You want to love a garden you can barely see, the train moving and fast. You want to drown in olives.

2.   How heavy you become even as you waste away. Not all luggage can be gathered on the train that comes to take you. Each window opening and the streets so dusty. First you find yourself happy, in pajamas, on a scooter, and the stars over. In the end, at last, a single suitcase in a cargo plane headed for Africa. Does it heavy your body? Does your face now turn to the ground at last?

3.   You stumble—is that a stone in your glass slipper?

4.   You always knew your mother would be there. Where was your father as you starved? You stuff your mouth with roots and bulbs. You wait for him to come.

5.   This man held your hand as you stepped your foot transparently into the car of a swiftly heading train and away.

6.   There is so much dust that the sweetest of men reaches you into his pocket, touches a handkerchief to your wrinkling brow. You know from the hand he has done this before.

7.   What is in a stumble but a foot that has taken the wrong path, and will it correct?

8.   And the women came. And the women came crying. And the women came crying unto. And the women came because no one else would. And they were garbed, they were the raiment of heaven, the colors of the splendor of hats and shoes and gloves. And they called to the angels. And Valentino came and Givenchy came. And they were crying—I know you won’t believe me but they were. Their tears were beautiful, too, and they were still tears.

9.   Don’t fall again. There is no one now to pick you up.

10.   And the pretty things they will be taken. And you will not be wrapped up like a present for Easter. And you will not be whited over. And you will not be allowed the dignity of the angels. And everyone will see you: what you are. And everyone will see the animal you hid.

11.   What else would you have me do? Is this for them or for you?

12.   Who is it you would turn to when you are not allowed to turn far at all and is it your mother you imagine waiting to catch your blood and is it your father you imagine noticing you at last or is he the one you might catch crying in the cellar with the body of a dying bird?

13.   Quitting time. The bells and the whistles sound off. No it isn’t time for lunch again. The wheels clack, the wheels shudder. They have nowhere to go. Who’s giving up on you? If there is no terminus, you simply cannot arrive. Who will take care of the derelicts when the tracks have been sent somewhere else? Rusty nails and wooden slats and the beast of a body of steely concentration. Just put it someplace out of sight. I don’t think I can bear to see it.

14.   And the tomb would become a face and the face a garden. And someone will mark it. And someone will know the spot where we left the doors of the face that opened on the garden. And the garden would open. And the garden would bear us olives. And they would be like little faces. And they would be sweet. And we would want to put them to our lips.