The Northwest Express

to my wife and to Blaise Cendrars


even in our sleep there are cables
between us. we are coupled
to each other like the railway cars
on their way to the sea


outside the window
Holland
a white van
on a winter's morning
filled with warm bread


startled from sleep I write this
instead of kissing you
you awaken in my poem
and give a bewildered smile


in a garbage dump they're burning books
and old streetcars. last night I discovered
a bird between your thighs. when the moon appeared
it flew out through the compartment window


the stars passed by at low altitude
they were made of glass or metal
and hummed like faulty fluorescent tubes.


December 1967