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Mary Kennan Herbert

Training for eternity

Mary Kennan Herbert

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Index chronologique :

20th century, XXe siècle

Index thématique et géographique :

États-Unis, literature, littérature, United States
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1All my life I will hear this disembodied voice announcing:
evacuate this car immediately. Get the hell out.
A fire alarm has sounded (incorrectly, as it turns out),
urging us to flee. Clickety-clack. We might go down in flames,
but we are moping our way across a star-crossed map,
earthbound, not flying with the angels, but groping
our way along bum-blessed tracks, guided by hobo moles
blinking at signals, ghost Barrymores of the Twentieth Century.
We are somewhere near Lake Erie, not in a 747
in troubled snowy skies. I hurry to safety in the dining car,
where a rumpled conductor finds me. He’s not the Top Gun
of aviation dreams, but he’ll do. It’s a false alarm. You can
go back to your berths and roomettes, folks, back to your
silver tomb rumbling on to Cleveland. Safe, safe, safe,
not yet cut up into little snowflakes to flutter all over Ohio.
In the Rust Belt city at 4 AM, young guys are laughing,
sharing a joke with connections reaching to Ann Arbor.
The waters of a not yet dead lake lap to meet the first light
of morning, silver, silver, just as the train goes by,
resolute. On to Buffalo! Sinners at last lie asleep,
cradled by a moving mommy, or mummy, depending
on your predilections, your memory of pyramids or trains.
What can be learned from journeys of little consequence?
I ask myself. From the Buckeye State to the Empire State,
I listen for warnings, pronouncements, advice, enticements.
This is a real trip, this is the way it should be.

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Mary Kennan Herbert, « Training for eternity », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], Écrivains, écritures, Mary Kennan Herbert, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2009, consulté le 25 avril 2019. URL :

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Les contenus de la Revue LISA / LISA e-journal sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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