No Turning Back

"Bye son," they say, watching as I board the train.

Their faces mirror words I'd often heard.

"You're the first in the family to go off to college.

I sit by the window, smiling, waving. The wheels

roll, the whistle blows. Their faces disappear.

My stomach gyrates like a jelly jar packed full

of grasshoppers. Farm scenes fly past like

newsreel photos. at the Saturday matinee.

I start wondering how Dad will handle the butcher

shop without me lifting, sweeping, packing food

on all the shelves. I remember how Dad worked

late hours and how Mom sewed my suits from

Grandpa,s old clothes. Thoughts coil through

my head like raw beef in the grinder. Would Dad

think of me as he rolled roasts, cut up chickens,

sliced bologna, visited with the town folks?

I pictured my steamer trunk in the baggage car

filled with my clothes, my varsity letter sweater,

my baseball and bat, my perfumed note from

Sara Jane. I have this dream to teach and coach.

At sunset the train whistles to a stop. Dust

clouds billow as I step off the train. While waiting

for the bus to campus, I let out a sigh as I

realize, there is no turning back.

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