What i think when i ride the train

Lucille Clifton

maybe my father
made these couplers.
his hands were hard
and black and swollen,
the knuckles like lugs
or bolts in a rich man's box.
he broke a bone each year
as if on schedule.
when i read about a wreck,
how the cars buckle
together or hang from the track
in a chain, but never separate,
i think: see,
there's my father.
he was a chipper.
he made the best damn couplers
in the whole white world.

Last updated November 30, 2022