Richard Wakefield


Terminal Park

“Terminal Park” reads the vine-covered sign
where junkies and drunks reach the end of the line.
Come morning the coroner’s van threads its way
through under- and over- growth gone to decay.
But this was a park once, the sweet countryside,
a Sunday adventure where people would ride
in the days of the streetcar, away from the grime
and the stench of the city, both ways for a dime.
The place wasn’t named with sardonic intent;
to them the name literally said what it meant:
this was, after all, where the terminal was,
and the dactyl in “terminal” pleased them because
it mimicked the clickety-clack of the track
that lullabied babies to sleep going back.
And right in the center a marvel was set:
the engines were turned in a slow pirouette
on a platform that carried the giants with ease
in an arc of a hundred and eighty degrees.
But ironies happen. The auto age came
and abandonment wrought a new turn on the name.
The literal iron was scrapped and the place
was left unattended, a terminal case.
Now derelicts shiver by fires in the dark
with no return tickets from Terminal Park.

“Terminal Park” is the title poem of Terminal Park (Able Muse Press, 2022).


Richard Wakefield has taught college humanities for forty-three years. For almost thirty years he wrote on current literature for The Seattle Times. His first collection, East of Early Winters (University of Evansville Press), received the Richard Wilbur Award. His second collection, A Vertical Mile (Able Muse Press), was shortlisted for the Poet’s Prize. His poem “Petrarch” won the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. Terminal Park, his new collection, has just been published by Able Muse Press.