Train Into Italy

Rising and falling with the clatter
of train wheels, I look up,
my face mirrored in the window
pale from travel,
where the word pallido
for low-lying marsh flushes birds

into nets stung across streams,
reti like small change swept
into my grandmother’s reticule

which hung from her arm,
brown with steerage, as a ship
brought her into New York harbor,
her purse full of words
she could not spend until some

slippled the net–a straw hat
called Leghorn, cloth colored aqua-
marine from which she cut sleeves
as she’d dipped water
from an Italian well,

water dousing the pallid air
where I met her, small woman
in a window high above
my sand-box yard.

She showered me with coins
composed to a clatter
of train wheels

carrying me across
a border to meet her.