“Hopping a boxcar counts for three felonies
if you get caught,” he tells me, staring
laterally across our corner,
cigarette smoke plumed into dust,
and our backpacks heaped together
like lovers between us.
He leans his back into the boxcar wall,
with a groan of rusted metal,
and lets cigarette ash drift onto his lap.
The scars across our arms
could map the rails that made them,
like a topographic map of suffering.
Somewhere outside the open freight door
the ashes of my drivers license
scatter the Pennsylvania countryside
as I fondle the hole in my torn
t-shirt; a barbed wire survivor.
Fences are for people with stuff worth stealing.
“When did you get out of jail?” I ask.
“February,” he says, punctuated by rails
clacking Morse code into infinite.
About the Author: James is a writer, musician and activist. He currently lives in Harrisburg, PA.