N Car

By Richard Baldasty

I took the N to the end of the line, got off, left my satchel with ID and SPF behind. It was already late afternoon—no further need for either. I sprinted the short distance to the beach. My grandfather was there, waiting atop the final ridge of dunes. He wasn’t impatient—dead more than fifty years, he was sovereign over time. We sat on the sand and played dominoes. He won, cheating as usual. Since we were wagering for frayed banknotes from countries no longer in existence, I let it pass. I did suggest we switch to Scrabble. He said he couldn’t: he’d let lapse most of language, having no use for words in the telepathic zone, only on rare return trips like this. I asked how he got here. Streetcar, he said, same N line as mine, though an hour later departure he’d made go faster. Like that? I asked, gesturing toward an ingathering tsunami. No, he replied, much faster.


Richard Baldasty writes poetry and short prose and creates text/image work in collage in Spokane, WA. His grandfather, an Irish immigrant, was a cable car brakeman and, later, streetcar motorman. N Judah is a San Francisco line with its terminus at Ocean Beach.

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