The 5:32

She said, If tomorrow my world were torn in two,
Blacked out, dissolved, I think I would remember
(As if transfixed in unsurrendering amber)
This hour best of all the hours I knew:
When cars came backing into the shabby station,
Children scuffing the seats, and the women driving
With ribbons around their hair, and the trains arriving,
And the men getting off with tired but practiced motion.

Yes, I would remember my life like this, she said:
Autumn, the platform red with Virginia creeper,
And a man coming toward me, smiling, the evening paper
Under his arm, and his hat pushed back on his head;
And wood smoke lying like haze on the quiet town,
And dinner waiting, and the sun not yet gone down.

– Phyllis McGinley


Who says love *has* to be a grand, sweeping thing? Or love poetry, for that matter? It can be, and on occasion is; but quiet, understated poems that speak of the everyday are powerful and moving because of the passion lurking in the quotidian and mundane.
What could be less conducive to drama than a suburban train? And yet – and yet here we are with the poet, hearing her say that *this* moment in time is what she would remember.
We’ve run other poems by McGinley here.
You can read more about her here and here.

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