Hardened Tears

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We’d walk the rails and search for beads of glass—
Jade, amber, puce, lapis— frosted and rough.
You told me they were the tears of trains shed
For passing all the sadness of the world.
Who knew sadness fit in a palm? At home,
In bed, we held those hardened tears to light
And saw, in each, the loss, the pain, the death,
Heard the engines heave, the whistles lament.
I’ve kept one, tucked in my chest, where I save
Those few things I love. On sleepless midnights,
Eyes closed, I roll, like a relic, that stone
Across my cheek, as if it were your touch
Set to calm my blind fear. But you are gone.
I cannot cry. My tears, too, have grown cold.

Richard Stimac published over thirty poems in Burningword, Clackamas, Faultline, Havik (Second Place 2021 Poetry Contest), Michigan Quarterly Review, Penumbra, Salmon Creek Journal, Wraparound South, and others, along with flash prose in Paperbark, and an article on Willa Cather in The Midwest Quarterly.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN