07 August, 2008

second train song

Train-Song # 2 08/05/08

Rectangles of corn standing stick straight beside the train tracks,
green mourners watching the procession as it rolls out of town.
The river, red with dirt from between the rows of drowning crops
drowns its banks and falls with a wet flop under the tracks
snail-sliming its red way off into the horizon that changes always.

The dark green of trees, soggy and smeared, is like a paper chain,
a fence of men in damp green raincoats holding hands and frowning.
They guards the distance from the train, whose whistle finds the cracks
and slips through the wall of trees and homes and telephone poles
howling out towards the mountains to the east across the grassy space.

At every station the train grinds to a halt, like cold sandpaper from the shed
dragged across waterlogged wood brought in by the tides of an ocean
so far from here that no familiar gulls circle down to compete
With the local pigeons for brown cores of apples and white crusts of bread.

Beside these tracks only the homes of the poor sit now, alone and tired
leaning this way and that, sinking down to meet the ground that buckles
and cracks the boards of the porch, pulling the sheds into their terrible slouch.

Burnt orange flashes of rust and decay mark the walls and doors now
of these houses once new and straight, standing square beside the tracks
and built from the wood of the trees that stand beside the corn plants.
Houses filled with people, fed by the corn, who watched the trains go by.