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The Sway of Trains
by Lydia Copeland

art by Robinson Accola
art by Robinson Accola
In bed at night, hearing the last conversations on the street, I'm still moving with the train cars. Still looking in the living rooms of the houses along the tracks. Lights are orange over oil paintings of barns and swallow-filled skies. Potatoes boiling in the air, a hiss of someone's tongue. You are already in the kitchen, perhaps sorting beans, filling a glass with milk. Our son asks you to be the bear. More, he says, but he means again. In the new town, I think of the bay and the ducks floating asleep. The cups and cans, shoes, jump ropes washing up on the rocks at night. This is our only nature. Some winter we will smooth a path on the street and slide on our stomachs. Under cars. Past the laundry mat where our clothes are folded and numbered. Past the Polish Bakery. Through the long hollow that brings city to city. Blue hands in snow drifts. The sway of trains. The summer water that is long gone. You tell me we must accept these things for a time. We kiss before sleeping, and I taste your salty cheek. Your hands fold under my pillow.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.



Lydia Copeland is from East Tennessee but has recently moved to New Jersey with her husband and son. Her work has appeared in Night Train, The Cortland Review, Juked, elimae, and others. In 2004, she won Glimmer Train's Short-Story Award for New Writers. She works for the Digital Reserves Library at the New School for Design in New York City.

Read the interview.

Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.
Issue Twenty-Three (December 15, 2008): Ants by David Aichenbaum «» Earthrise by Christopher Bundy «» The World Before This One by Jon Chopan «» Ghost Bike by Thomas Cooper «» The Sway of Trains by Lydia Copeland «» Impressionists by Debra A. Daniel «» Danseuses Nues by David Harris Ebenbach «» The Head Fields by Terry Ehret «» Shadows by Sherrie Flick «» Heroin Girl by Larry Fondation «» She Doesn't Ask Where He Goes by Stefanie Freele «» Caved In by Barry Graham «» Chicago World's Fair, 1893 by Kyle Hemmings «» Coat and Shoes by Tania Hershman «» Thirteen by Tai Dong Huai «» Phoenix by W.P. Kinsella «» Nearly Free by Dorianne Laux «» Alien Lunch by Liane LeMaster «» The Society for the Preservation of Everything by Kuzhali Manickavel «» 216 East Boalt by Jeannie Vanasco «» Potatoes by Spencer Wise «» Interviews: David Aichenbaum «» Christopher Bundy «» Jon Chopan «» Thomas Cooper «» Lydia Copeland «» Debra A. Daniel «» David Harris Ebenbach «» Terry Ehret «» Sherrie Flick «» Larry Fondation «» Stefanie Freele «» Barry Graham «» Kyle Hemmings «» Tania Hershman «» Tai Dong Huai «» Dorianne Laux «» Liane LeMaster «» Kuzhali Manickavel «» Spencer Wise «» Cover Art "morpheus" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor

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