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Ben Groner III

Vision of the Future Aboard an Amtrak Train

Tinted windows sepia-blur jimsonweed and

crisp crabgrass clawing through pavement,

erect propane tanks and corn silos, the silty

gray mouth of the lolling Delaware River,

a low stack of StorageLite units, parked sedans

encroaching on a residential street like plaque

along an artery. Rays sheening a development

of beige houses are unrelenting, though kind. How

can sunlight be childhood, memory, annihilation

all at once? A lone deck of bleachers bare of

spectators next to a high school football field

tenses for the fall season when a boy will refuse

to become his father, will leave the girl alone,

will rip his pads off in the dank locker room

before rushing to the riverbank, inexplicable

and trembling. His grandmother had spoken of

water made murky by sewage and soot, blood

from the upstream slaughterhouse, slick runoff

from Gulf Oil, chemical waste from DuPont.

But the river before him is clear in fractured

moonlight; his teachers tell him striped bass,

brown trout, American shad are returning—

some bony sturgeon even rove its depths.

There was always a chance. There always is.


Ben Groner III (Nashville, TN), recipient of a Pushcart Prize nomination and Texas A&M University’s 2014 Gordone Award for undergraduate poetry, has work published in Rust + Moth, Cheat River Review, Whale Road Review, Stirring, Midway Journal, and elsewhere. He’s also a former bookseller at Parnassus Books. You can see more of his work at

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