The 4:52 by Ed Ruzicka

The 4:52, Looking At Everything, Looking At Nothing

Down Van Buren, flash past bums, mounds
under shirts, vests, coats hunkered into what
heat they can win between brick and sidewalk.

Blow through the doorways of Union Station
in a flood , teeming, over-ridden, born along. Heels,
soles click across marble flooring. Intent, intent.

Hit Westbound Track 11, oil-smeared, black with grit.
A place locked into nothing but the coming and the
going. Left abysmal, unnoticed as a coroner’s fingernails.

Twenty coaches glisten. Streamlined, every one.
Bustle in and put the bum down onto leather
padded with fiber, horsehair, exhaustion.

When with a wrench and screech the thing pulls out,
pigeons dart from rafters into a light so powerful it
squints the eyes that slowly readjust and focus onto

broad lots of rubble and tawny weeds, apartment backs
where stairwells Z, sun blistered. warped, snow dusted.
Feral cats. The occasional smoker restless and numb.

Miles and miles of brickwork and steel where whiskey
glass goes shelf to hand to mouth, shatters across
pavement. Gets shuffled to gutter beside old Trib print.

After Brookfield there’s a shift. Swept streets, shops
in rows, each with their key and determination. Fluorescent
light weak with hope and worry and forbearance.

Suddenly trees erupt along the way, copses rip by. Yards.
Yards roll. Now you come upon the snow-bent boughs
of Morton Arboretum. A sanctuary set aside, deeded by

that famous salt baron in the twenties. Gem overflowing
with oak, maple, elm, evergreens. Designed to be green
in every season. Hushed hillsides safe as old money.


Ed Ruzicka has published one full length volume, “Engines of Belief” His poems have appeared in Rattle, the Atlanta Review, the Xavier Review, and Louisiana Literature as well as other literary journals and anthologies. Ed lives in Baton Rogue, LA and is an occupational therapist. More works can be found on his website, edrpoet.com.