Quasi-Rhyme

Rhyme has always fascinated me. Slam poetry with its partial, random schemes, and the ability of some poets to make their regimented rhymes, Dr. Seuss-like, still sound so deep and meaningful, despite their children’s song layout.

On the rare occasions that I write poetry these days (I used to pen it almost exclusively), I don’t make an effort to rhyme. If one happens to fall into place I’m pretty pleased, but I spent so long writing song lyrics (few of which I’m overly proud) that I guess rhyming has kind of taken a back seat in my wordy world.

And then I wrote this.

I don’t know what it is. I’m not entirely certain I like it.

But it’s words. So that’s good.

Easily, the train rolls; beneath the white noise whirr there’s just the gentlest sound, each time around, when a chip in the wheel hits the track just so.

It’s a lulling chug, like a soporific drug. In league with the listing sway of the overnight coach, it rocks to sleep the quiet girl with the ebony curls, who swore her eyes would ne’er close ‘gainst the view.

And across the isle, behind his crumpled paper, beneath his debonair style, he waits – the man with the slow smile. Who caught her gaze in the dining car and was shocked at what he saw.

Now he is concerned, the glimpse awoke that yearning – but he must wait. In the listing sway of the sleeping car, sleep is never far. So he watches through a hole in the classifieds, perfectly still.

She is dreaming of foggy mornings out on the boat, her hair afloat in the pre-light breeze. He leans in and says please, and she nods and they share a sweet kiss. But brief, and he takes up the oars. Rows them in.

The compartment door is a silent soldier, locked from the inside, stoically protecting its charge. But sneaking inside is a thief’s point of pride, and with only one serving girl run in, he gets in.

In her dream she is rocked by the boat and they dock, and his warm hand takes hers for a safe return. She stumbles on the path and falls into his back, but her catches her.

She is propped against her hatbox, with her hand around the latch lock, but he wants not the bonnet within. There are pearls in the chest, but he leans closer yet, to see the locket round her slender neck.

She shifts in her sleep, a vestige of some dream, and his hand brushes her smooth, pale cheek. It is barely a touch, but his cruel mind reminds, never’less.

He’s is lost in an instant, at once near and so distant, when he first saw a sweet, heart-shaped face. This one’s not quite the same, but enough – plus, the name – he takes hold of the small, silver chain.

She is shifting again, as he breaks the small clasp – he knows just how to work the bent pin. Then it falls soft in his hand, and all he must do is stand, but instead he leans in.

Just the curve of a brow, the set of an ear – like looking into a time-tarnished mirror. He backs abruptly away, intercepts a suitcase and the opposite bench breaks his fall.

She is upright at once, blue eyes bright, fists clenched. Ready to scream, but in an instant this fiend looks familiar, as a looking glass with a slight, fragile crack.

Her hand lifts to her throat, to the charm she once wore. From her mother, the secret she swore. Then she nods at the glint in the intruder’s fist, and she smiles.

The man sees inside, into the eyes of the bride that he never was fated to wed. And the baby grown who, as tears fill his eyes, sits beside him on the slow rocking bed.

Into his free hand she slips her small, sweet hand and together they love her again.

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