Minor Derailment 

Again I submitted a poem for a literary journal that publishes one poem every Sunday that responds to something from the week’s news. (And again,  my poem was not chosen.) Perhaps because I wrote in response to a small, local story of a minor train derailment by Amtrak on Friday in Penn Station NY, the news does not have a wide enough net. Perhaps there were too many other entries that surpassed mine.  Perhaps this is not that good.  But the idea lodged itself in my head. It must come out. The news kept saying how no one was hurt, but I started thinking about the butterfly effect and how there is more than one way to be hurt.
Minor Derailment 
It was a minor derailment

At slow speed.

No one was hurt.

And yet,

And yet,

Trains were cancelled,

Delayed, and crowded.

So the Mom rushing home early

From a business trip to DC

Misses her daughter’s basketball game.

But no one was hurt.

And the Dad who promised

He’d be there,

For sure this time,

For his son’s school play,

(He has the lead)

Won’t make it in time.

But no one was hurt.

And the sweetheart with a ring

But a dead phone battery

Is over an hour late for their reservation

And she’s gone home, crying.

But no one was hurt.

The pushing and shoving on

The overcrowded trains,

Everyone wanting to get home,

No one wanting to give an inch,

Anger, frustration,

And who knows what else,

Especially later as some commuters

Have over-enjoyed happy hour 

To kill the time

Lessening their inhibitions

And loosening their tongues.

But no one was hurt.

The broken dates,

The missed appointments,

The misunderstandings,

The fatigue,

The tempers flaring.

One train slips off the track

At minimal speeds

Not even completely out of the station

And sideswipes another.

The grinding of metal!

The jostling and jarring!

And, thank God!

No one on board is injured.

But that does not mean

No one was hurt.


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