My Aphasic Mother Rides the Rocky Mountaineer

Susan G. Duncan made her way from Kansas City to settle in California at the age of 22. She credits her Midwestern mother with a childhood introduction to poetry, and decades later that inspiration finally emerged, cicada-like. Now Susan writes ferociously about that place called home. "My Aphasic Mother Rides the Rocky Mountaineer" is in Short Circuit #08, Short Édition's quarterly review.

Image of Short Circuit - Short Circuit #08
window seat
facing forward
racing westward on rails;
every twist a next vista
the last passed pivots
sweeps past
her left shoulder
only as we sit still—
an hour into a restaurant meal—
where are we?
(the longest remark she can speak.)
our answer seems to appease
but did she mean:
her restlessness?
her wish to be back on the moving train?
where impression leads to impression,
where forward thrust is all?
there on the train,
she avoids
the slowing,
there on the train,
she outraces
the void.

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