Train to Nefasit


Nefasit, Eritrea

Riding Acela to Boston
Connecticut towns roll by
coffee and church steeples
a successful man in coat and tie

recalling when three and twenty
with no awareness I was blessed
I hopped the train to Shegareni
on my way to Nefasit.

Wheezing ancient mallets
pulling freight cars to the sky
I took the train to Nefasit
high Summer of ‘65

Riding the rails to Ghinda
where villages crawl out of the sand
or rest, perched on rocky mountain crags
coughing and wheezing at dawn.

A mosque, a church, a goatherd
women carrying sticks
a man, a camel, a little boy
scraping for sustenance.

Mothers tending children
men squatting along the road
halal butchered beef and goat
hanging from rusty hooks

‘Twas on that ancient mallet
that I learned about the world;
how much of it was not like mine
for most the stars do not align.

Tonight I ride the Amtak
Silver Star, Miami bound
while in memory drums a clatter
the railroad of my youth.





About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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5 Responses to Train to Nefasit

  1. beetleypete says:

    Is this a re-blog, Frank? maybe I am imagining it. Either way, i was able to conjure up the feel of the heat and dust of The Horn of Africa. Good work mate.
    Regards, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lara/Trace says:

    Blessed you are, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennie says:

    Beautiful post. I know you may not want to hear that word, but your poem is full of beauty and wisdom. ’65. I was 15, far more focused on Motown music and the Beatles at that time. People were talking about the Peace Corps. I went to a Pete Seeger rally. That was the extent of my forward thinking. I’m glad I became a teacher. Much learned, and much given to children. Many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are on a roll Toritto! I could just read this over and over and never get tired of it! I absolutely love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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