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Li-Young Lee


Your attention please.
Train number 9, The Northern Zephyr,
destined for River's End, is now boarding.
All ticketed passengers
please proceed to the gate marked Evening


Your attention please. Train number 7,
Leaves Blown By, bound for The Color of Thinking
and Renovated Time, is now departing.
All ticketed passengers may board
behind my eyes.


Your attention please. Train number 4, The Twentieth Century,
has joined The Wind Undisguised to become The Written Word.


Those who never heard their names
may inquire at the uneven margin of the story
or else consult the ivy
lying awake under our open window.


Your attention please, The Music,
arriving out of hidden ground
and endlessly beginning, is now the flower,
now the fruit, now our cup and cheer
under branches more ancient
than our grandmother's hair.


Passengers with memories of the sea
may board leisurely at any unmarked gate.


Fateful members of the foam may proceed to azalea.


Your attention please.
Under falling petals, never think about home.
Seeing begins in the dark.
Listening stills us.
Yesterday has gone
ahead to meet you.


And the place in a book a man stops reading
is the place a girl escaped
through her mother's garden.


And between paired notes of the owl,
a boy disappeared. Search for him
goes on in the growing shadow of the clock.


And the face behind the clock's face
is not his father's face.


And the hands behind the clock's hands
are not his mother's hands.


All light-bearing tears may be exchanged
for the accomplished wine.


Your attention please. Train number 66,
Unbidden Song, soon to be
the full heart's quiet, takes no passengers.


Please leave your baggage with the attendant
at the window marked Your Name Sprung from Hiding.


An intrepid perfume is waging our rescue.


You may board at either end of Childhood.