On entering we consent to a conversation of objects:
sprayed on happy endings: dolls in skit of Fresh Light:
wing padded pigs presented shyly: cuddled grins.

She smiles: uncertainty smiles bright packages: (smile 
smile): I wrap myself in the culture of toilet rolls: 
gesture to comic contorts: curve to breathless figures.

I play an ecstatic game: amend cows to Boxes 
of Beauty: animated applications: before: she smiles: 
and after: Hot Curvy Oilgel: examine Misty Throat.

She sorts a cavalry of products: daily divining 
the common:  puts personality to object: intones  
kawaii to a purple Crying Rash Cream.

I am drawn to rounded eyes: questioning clouds: 
giggling shaped answers: stacked to counter 
my quizzical tilts: soundless shelves of white.

Contained between Sky Hat and Happy
Family: I am a solitary packet: she mimes
my display: stock-still in silent resolution.


Provincial Train

We had passed two since, or three if we stopped
when shingled roofs cleaved the flowing rice-field green.
"Six stops," she said, then closed her eyes, "at five wake me."
I was divided in banners that bandaged the sky.
Caught in a parade of wind-socked carp, I watched
march on bamboo poles through the blue breeze.

On trains I meditate small towns as careless
swatches of color, elegant strokes, fragmented delays.

At three, or maybe four, I'm sure a drummer dragged his music on board,
Yumi pushed her ear further into my arm, and a small child
gloved his hand with a silver bag of Hello Panda cookies.

Tracks rattle my budded ears
as Coltrane reworks My Favorite Things.
I don't understand Japanese. Each city sign
a tangle of slashing lines. I count:
five river passes, two bright with white
tree-lined walks; eight railroad crossings,
a crowd of cycles leaned on thighs,
curves of idled cars; and one
yellow-leave-piled yard with a rusted gate ajar.

The doors open to a giggle of four school-skirted girls,
to a turn of three ties, to a pause of two flu masks. Four!

Yumi's clothes are a bundle of sheets.
When I nudge her awake, she will stand
to pull herself straight. From the horizon
she will know how many stops we've passed.
She will say "five," and we'll exit at "six,"
two hands held… Not knowing is a beautiful thing.

I count the fifth.  Three monks step in, two hands
slip a longing grip, doors close politely
and Yumi nuzzles in further.  The train starts
a kitchen of crashing dishes, faces
turn to the windows we leave in.



RANDY GONZALES is a PhD candidate at The University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers. He was born and raised in New Orleans, but has spent a large part of his adult life residing in places like Fukui, Yongin, Abu Dhabi, Pohang, Calamba, Alabang, and Al Ain. For more information on Randy check out his website at www.gonzales22.com.