The Line Begins Over There

There is never enough time to
write all the stories that rumble,
steam, and puff through the corners
of my imagination.
Some must wait, ticket in hand, huddled
in the bookshop of the train station until
the conductor calls their name.

Some wait so long they become a
contradiction in terms. A book
that is unwritten, but a story nonetheless.

There’s the exotic one in its cobalt
binding, with threads of red and gold,
leaning up against a high corner shelf
in a final effort to see what time
the station clock gives

There, too, sits the slender calfskin romance,
its bookmark neatly spread across
a travel guide marked “The Author’s Mind in a Weekend.”
A bold statement, if I’ve ever heard one.

And one fat little beauty the color
of frosted bark, with a stack of loose sheafs
beside it, and, I do believe, a wrinkled
and folded map of lands where no train runs.

The rest are heaped together in a corner
beside the timetable, dusty and comfortable,
drowsy in the creative afternoon glow.

They are content enough to wait
until a breeze purrs through their gentle pages
and carries a word or two of remembrance
to my waiting and eager ear.

Then the locomotive will grind to a stop,
the foot-blackened stairs will clatter down
to the station floor, and one story, with
a trembling ticket tucked between its pages,
will step aboard the train.

* by Rebekah Shafer

Cool photo courtesy of the amazing people at