by Walt Hunter
My wife and I are separated
on the train. I get off in Russia.
She gets off in Finland.
I spend the whole night riding
back and forth from Russia
to Finland, searching every face
on every train until I find her—
but only for a second, and only
from the window of a passing train.
This piece doesn't bear the hallmarks of the classically poetic. There is no wordplay, rhyme, or readily apparent symbolism. But the language is clearly different from what would be used in ordinary discourse, and it's plain that it's been carefully calculated and chiseled. The poem tells a story, and the story affects, and the story carries more meaning than the narrative does alone. This is sufficient to make the piece a poem, and a good one at that.