Shared Custody
Julia Wendell

Shared Custody

They wait on the platform,
not even holding hands.

Caitlin gazes north,
willing the train to appear.

Her brother peers solemnly
into the tracks’ dark well.

Her sandaled toes, tapping
in December’s cold,

a Sendak Wild Thing
on John’s softly-faded hoodie.

We are waiting for the 4:35
to New York, Penn Station,

while the Silver Crescent with sleepers
—such exhausted angels—

idles on the southbound platform,
bound for Bayou St. John.

I check the station clock,
check it again.

Commuters tuck the folded wings
of newspapers underarm,

the dead weight of briefcases
handcuffed to the other.

Oh, the well-worn boredom
of a mother and her young

waiting peckishly
for time and expectation to merge.

The Cyclopean eye
comes into distant view.

I scold myself for my impatience,
one hand now on either child

to hold her back
and nudge him forward.

Julia Wendell

is the author of six poetry collections, including, most recently, The Art of Falling (FutureCycle Press, 2022). Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, and other journals. She is the founding editor of Galileo Press and lives in Aiken, South Carolina.