THE BRIEF REINCARNATION OF MARY WEBSTER ON THE AMTRAK FROM BOSTON TO NEW YORK
Leaves clung to the woman’s shoe
and hair hung from the sides of her face.
It had rained for a week.
She’d eaten a biscuit,
then fell asleep on the train
to the hissing until the low whistle sang.
The man across the aisle
was watching her sleep.
He pretended to read his newspaper
licked his inked fingers,
smudged editorials, blurred black
and white photos with spit on his hands.
She dreamt about being a cat, a fox,
an apple hanging from a tree.
She opened her eyes and found
the man had moved to sit beside her.
He’d been so silent,
she’d hardly felt the air move.
He held out a cigarette
which she placed between her lips.
When his hand shifted closer to her hip,
she put her bag between them
and asked if he had ever played scrabble:
He played cart,
she played cruel,
he played slick,
she played sway,
he played cyan,
she won by adding an i and a d and an e.
She sent him back to his side
of the train with a biscuit
wrapped in a napkin
and a half-drunk mug of tea.
She returned to her dream of the hanging fruit,
felt her small body sway in the breeze
until the train arrived in New York.
Amy LeBlanc holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and creative writing from the University of Calgary. She is currently non-fiction editor at filling Station magazine. Her work has appeared, or is scheduled to appear in Room, Prairie Fire, Contemporary Verse 2, Geez, and EVENT among others. Amy won the 2018 BrainStorm Poetry Contest for her poem ‘Swell’. She is the author of two chapbooks, most recently Ladybird, Ladybird published with Anstruther Press in August 2018. She attended a poetry residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in October 2018.