In the marrowbone of night,
your song parts the fog.

I never knew the secrets entrusted there.

I never knew that cinders and steel
could lie so passionately

and still believe that the watchman’s hours
would evaporate and leave us scratching for more.

I have stolen time.

The windows remain closed and shuttered.
Even the wind turns away.

The track narrows.

You call.



Sometimes song seems the only respite,
the rhythm of clashing cars

and moments stretched beyond the next bend
to that point where light winks out.

We both know this lonely tunnel.

Payment is due.

I have always exited alone.


Another evening, and red smoke completes the horizon.

Your ribs stretch for distance,
and while I cannot see their end,
I know by sound
their lot.

Sing for me.
It is not
too close.


“Trains” was originally published in Lightning’d Press (Issue 8) in Spring of 2014, and was reprinted on Aubade Rising in April, 2015. It is also included in my chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform.

57 thoughts on “Trains

  1. The inevitability of both entering and exiting the “lonely tunnel” is as palpable as the Doppler Effect. I have no idea how the physics actually works, but there is no question here that the observer moving away from the observed (and vice versa) results in a shift experienced as loss, and yet, somewhere, there is a relative point at which time stops, and who is to say whether it is for better or worse? We are simply conditioned for trainspotting.
    The mood of this poem seems more than slightly reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “Hills Like White Elephants.” Do you know it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hmm. Yes, I know it! I never would have placed the two in the same ballpark, but I like that you have. Very interesting, and it lets me examine my own writing from a different perspective, which is invaluable. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was one of my favorites in your book. I fell in love with trains when my grandfather took me to work with him as a child. He ran one of those big tank farms for Amoco and trains came often. I now live about four blocks from a CSX line and my morning alarm is a train horn.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very nice. I have spent most of my life living near the rails. Their sounds have become normal. The chung, chung, chung echoes off the building across from me giving the sounds an eerie, beautiful reverb.

    Liked by 1 person

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