To Braintree

“To Braintree”, “To Bowdoin” and “To Lechmere”

by Julia Lattimer

To Braintree

If this train car were mine, I’d hang plants from the

metal bars. I’d stain the windows—blue, yellow,

pink, blue again, green. When I ride above this

Dorchester, the orange sky will pour onto my white

curtain lace, my stacks of books, my blushing skin.

I’ll look out at the yellowed rooftops through

scratchless sunshine glass and wonder how much it

must hurt to live anywhere else.

To Bowdoin

Eleven people are touching my body right now. Their

heavy breath polishes my skin while I lock into my

reflection on the silver window. It's unromantic to be

so yellowish in the waiting room light. I want to hold

each hand, but I only have two. And the putrid people

have so many better things to grip, even when my

arms look like their railings. We survive, for now,

though none of us want to be here. In the blackened

watercolor windows, we have golden skeleton faces.

Not even one of us will make it to the end.

To Lechmere

Outside is pink. 5:50 is sweet and mine. Up this

early, my brain is nothing. This train car is a

train car, all metal and yellow, rattling and

Next Stop: Kenmore. I am empty and going to

work. I am moving slowly. The next person is

5 rows away and she looks like me, like

headphones, like eyeliner, like she's trying to

appreciate the sunrise past her soft and

frowning reflection. I don't want my stranger to

smile. I don't want her to meet me. She won't

look away from the zipping outdoors or the

peach, back-lit outline of the Hancock Tower.

How could the mobile empty waiting room

compare when every morning sky looks at least

a little different? When I get off at Arlington,

there are more of us. But the girl hasn’t noticed,

doesn’t move, and will see me again tomorrow.

About the Author

Julia Lattimer

Julia Lattimer is a poet living in Boston, Massachusetts.