Leavetaking I

Leaving the first of two galleries I visited last week, I paused on the landing to look out over the neighboring field. The stair to the third-floor gallery was on the outside of the building. Afraid of heights, I averted my eyes to avoid looking through the metal lattice-work to the ground below. Instead, I looked out and over. The sky had turned gray and the wind had picked up. Rain was in the air.

I looked out at a skyline of old industrial buildings. Above me a tree bent and straightened. A train was passing. Boxcar after boxcar lurched past, the metal-on-metal grinding rhythmic, hypnotic. I listened to that sound a long time, hair in my face, my jacket billowing.

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