He only understands "train station,"
they say when they talk about someone
like me. Everywhere the rails run, they've set up
half-red, half-blue monuments. Pillars inscribed, "Info
/ S.O.S.," with speakers and round buttons inviting an oracle.
My questions wouldn't survive the trip down
subterranean rapids of telecom wire,
into the stagnant bays of call centers,
and across an ocean of difference; because
on this foreigner's tongue their words taste unseasoned, underdone,
and curdling as I add the ingredients all out of order.
I can't imagine how unappetizing I must sound
to the true connoisseurs of the language. Even "I'm sorry"
never comes out just right.
I can study the dense anatomy of routes, the veins
feeding travellers through this body of land
in its bewildering smallness.
I can learn to think of departure and arrival
in the unaccustomed precision of increments
shorter than fifteen minutes.
But it's strange they see this place as a wall,
the absolute limit of ignorance.
I see it as an edge. The border between
footsure naïveté and the depths
of what it's possible not to understand.