Sometimes you say bad things about people
claiming it can't be helped
you crawl farther into the darkness
just to see what it feels like
but today you count the late frozen stars
and Jupiter drifting into the dawn
because Ruth the poet has passed away
who listened to the muse alone:
the mailman and the trash truck driver,
the women who work in Lost and Found,
their faded hair wispy as cotton gauze
in the discount store downtown.
They are folding a dark wool sweater
that smells of camphor and lighter fluid,
in one pocket a train ticket
from Roanoke to Syracuse.
The creaky hinge on the Ladies Room door
is silent now in the vacant station,
only a traveling woman asleep,
her suitcase tied with ribbons and twine
and snowflakes dusting the platform,
their stellar dendrites and crystal rosettes
flickering like signals from outer space
planetary and blind.