At the Train Station circa 1982

At the train station, more a trailer backstopped at the curb,
I am waiting for the Altoona-to-New York Metroliner,
a train my father in a lifetime of living here
never once boarded,
waiting for it to take me away—my magic wardrobe escape
my tunnel to the outside world
beneath ground frozen like iron in winter
and in summer, a sump of toxins
seeping out from the closed mines—

it is January and bitter cold in the mountains.
Dad usually wears fake-fur earmuffs or an old plaid cap with flaps
but today it is only the sad molting toupee,
a wool overcoat shiny with age, and battered wing tips
at the end of his Giacometti-stick-figure legs
on a Saturday at 10 am in Altoona,
at the new train station slapped-up in a rush
after the old one burned down.
Having refused again to pay my mother’s alimony,
having cheated on her with perfect fidelity for thirty years,
having called her a bitch and a whore after she left, spittle
freezing on lips chapped and split from the cold and the chemo,
having sobbed all night through the thin walls of the cheap condo
so that I, in the next room, was cobwebbed and crazed
sleepless by the sound,

he stands now on the cracked sidewalk with his smiling, cracked lips
and the terrible sores raspberrying his nose, mouth, and cheeks,
and in his hands also cracked and split and a little blue—
no, not in his hands, but in his arms, cradled like the football
he never threw to my brother or had thrown to him as a boy,
or really, more like held in his arms like a baby,
but not his own babies Mom says he never held—
holding that baby-sized football of an entire Lebanon Bologna,
my favorite, and a delicacy not found in New York
or California, or at least not made like that—
pink flesh studded with bits of fat and peppercorn and clove,
all sweet, spice, and brine at the same time—
something I could not get from anyone else anywhere else in the world,
and this, he could give to me.