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   April 24, 2008 Issue                                       

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©2007 The Chestnut Hill Local

Local Fiction & Poetry Edition

Five Seconds on the R-7
by MARVIN THALL, Chestnut Hill

Focus, said my muse,
on the first five seconds
on your home-bound SEPTA train.

Five seconds, I thought:
Five heartbeats?
Five locomotives?
Five elephants, or time to read that poster?

   NEVER RUN FOR TRAINS
SEPTA SERIOUS ABOUT CHANGE

The clock is ticking — Senior
off-peak fares end at 4:30.
Five seconds later, I’d pay peak.

A law of physics: in five seconds
at the speed of light, we could circle
our planet thirty-seven times
(Is that right, Sir Isaac?).

Always racing against time,
to make one’s mark.
to finish your game,
before the final whistle.

About love at first sight —
a five second glance,
perhaps? Is that the way it happens?
Or, does it grow like the oak from a tiny seed,
months, years,  half-century or more, and your
heart still pounds at your lover’s touch,
waiting at the Wyndmoor station,

five seconds ahead.