Nowhere Never Comes

The withered ticket taker
Rambles up and down
The worn and narrow
Aisle of the
Huffing and puffing
Coal burning,
Anachronism of a
Steam powered train
Quietly in a raspy voice
Textured by years of asking
The same question,
Responding the same way
And smoking two packs
Of Lucky Strike cigarettes
A day,
He makes brief and
Thoroughly impersonal
Eye contact with
Each passenger
As he asks,
“Ticket please?”
Once given,
A quick and cursory glance
Is dropped on it,
He punches
A once perfectly round
Hole in it,
Then returns it
And says, “Thank you”
As though to no one
In particular
As he is halfway
To the next passenger.
There is no need to explain
His repetitive refrain.

Those going somewhere
Get there on time
Or, more likely,
But they do arrive
Often after those
Who have come to greet them
Have given up
And gone home.
Those with tickets
To nowhere
Never arrive.
The very notion
Is as oxymoronic
As compassionate
The ride goes on forever;
The conductor passes up and down
But cannot see them.
He sees only tickets
And there are
No tickets
To nowhere.
If nowhere is where
You are going,
There may be no gain
To be garnered
By knowing
That everywhere
Is somewhere.

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