Because our eyes always look up,

stairs take us to meet fear.

You can hear the whistle of

the Princeton Junction trains,

the dinky, out of the college station,

as you drive Alexander, Nassau, to Witherspoon,

a round-about to Washington Road.

Growing closer, the express trains

going to and fro, Trenton

to New York — to Penn station.

Sometimes Westward to Philly.

Whoosh. Our hair flies upward, skin crawls,

and the thrill of what lies ahead.

On arrival take a walk —

in winter

spring

summer

or feel the perfection of seasons, fall,

visit the Princeton college campus.

Once you step off the dinky platform,

the architecture of it all,

it’s breathtaking.

But for this south westerner, the thrill of the ride

takes my breath away, takes

me back to where myth in “metal horses”

rode the tracks across the plains.

Her youthful trains, freights,

out the rear caboose door I spied,

as they sped down the open lines —

imagination looked for hobos, for truth

in injuns and cowboys; arrows flying

and guns fanning, leaving even more spirits,

trailing a Texas upbringing.

Simple thrills replaced real needs.

as life settles in a new home, Jersey.

You take surroundings for granted. Don’t.

Pick a destination, imagine Woodrow,

Fitzgerald, Stewart, Nader,

and even Michelle Obama

taking steps with ticket in hand —

towards a future, towards progress,

and always adventurous journeys.

Elizabeth Akin Stelling is Texas poet living in New Jersey. She is now full-time managing editor of Red Dashboard LLC Publications and runs open mics and readings in the Princeton area. Her own work has been seen in Texas Observer, Wordgathering, vox poetica, River Poets Quarterly, U.S. 1 Summer Fiction, Literary Avenue Journal, Tuck Magazine, Curio Poetry, Referential Magazine, and others. She is the author of “My South by Southwest.”

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