Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sail Away

I’ve had my ear to the rail for some time now.
Three yards up the line, my sister huddles,
waiting, same as me.

Hearing something
I jerk my head up,
study the horizon.
But, no, it is nothing,
perhaps the whine of an airplane overhead.
My sister clears her throat.

I lay my ear down once more.
The steel rail warm and soothing against my skin.
Its smoothness is like a sharp, sharp blade,
ready to slice a tomato.

Now I hear rumbling.
Under the palm of my hand, vibration.
With my head on the trestle,
I see a plume of white, smoky steam
unfurling in the sky.
A finger pointing,
but not at me.

The vibrato becomes a shuddering.
The grumble, a roaring.
I crouch,
horrified and immobile.

With a scream, the locomotive is upon me,
shaking me senseless like dice in a cup.

Yet it misses me,
as if I were invisible.

I sit up after the last car passes,
watching my sister as she sails away,
her brown hair laughing with the wind.


I thank Bruce Molsky for off-site inspiration with his version of the old-time tune, Sail Away. No one sings it like Bruce.

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