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Roger Vaillancourt

Look Blind

The, I don't know-several ton I guess, boxcar swings slowly, in that way that huge things swing when suspended. It's making headway through the air underneath an unseen helicopter. The boxcar is trussed up in a diaper of wire rope or webbing that cinches up (uncomfortably?) between its trucks, and a wheel spins so slowly that it might be better to say it rotates. The helicopter is heading east, inland under the darkening clouds. That's assuming the same clouds are found inland, I don't know. The clouds here, as the boxcar ascends in its diaper, give the whole affair a mood. Something like a family member leaving after a stay for a holiday. A family member you don't really even know that well anymore, but who represents something or reminds you of something, a time or a place like this afternoon with the boxcar flying out under the dark clouds, a feeling. Yes, it's neither a time nor a place, but a feeling. Though I can't say that a feeling is anything more than a time and a place remembered. But this thing here on the shore, watching the segment of the train depart, is like a thing that happens to people. It's metaphorical, or allegorical or just evocative or maybe not. Maybe I would find that anything would make me feel like this today. Maybe it's deja vu without the memory. Because the memory's been overwritten by too many rememberings evoked by things like this one, equally indeterminate or random, if those words mean the same thing. But now the boxcar, the primer red boxcar, is nearly gone. It has almost reached the same granularity as the sky, and I have to find it sidelong, with my peripheral vision. No one else here is doing this. They've gone on down the beach, searching. But I look sidelong, moving my head, waiting for it to be gone, in a kind of constant scanning. I can't see color this way, but I can kind of see the boxcar. Its color has gone on ahead of it. If you could see me, I would look blind. Someone down the beach says something, but from the tone I know it's nothing. I keep on looking. Now I can't see it.

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