The 2River View 18.1 (Fall 2013)

Lauren Shimulunas

Baggage Claim

The paper says he lay in front of a train
and that’s how it happened.

I wait for my suitcase.

In the terminal, a man kisses a woman.
In the terminal, a man kisses a man.
Everywhere around me,
someone is departing.
Someone is reunited.
I used to believe a penny
on the tracks could derail a train.

How could he lie there,
feeling the vibrations?
The shaking?
Did he think of whether he locked his car,
whether he left his electric blanket on?

In my town the rails were rusty before I was born.
There was a bridge of tracks
stuck alone in the river,
but the only trains we heard
sounded cartoon whistles on Saturday mornings.
He would’ve had to find some other way.

Finally the carousal whirs to life.
And I forgot to feed the birds.
Fuck the birds.
They can starve,
the little bastards.


He won’t marry me on Lake Michigan—
knows he’ll drown. Knows that’s silly.
The Pacific is deeper. The Atlantic is colder.
He knows.

I grew up on the lake. Toes stuck in cold sand,
steely waves pulling me like a lost magnet.
He won’t marry me on Lake Michigan.

I understand.
Sometimes a girl goes missing near the lake.
And sure, we search.
But after the first hours, everyone knows.
She’s gone.

Lauren Shimulunas is a recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire MFA program. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Blue Collar Review, Cider Press Review, and The Cortland Review. contact

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