Archive for August, 2013

August 25, 2013

Railroad Tracks (At the End of Summer)

Photo: Creative Commons

Photo: Creative Commons

the sleeping railway

a thin configuration line giving shape to the rolling plains

otherwise blended together with blankets of wild grasses

the Rockies in the distance split the cloud lines

where the rains from the day fall onto peaks

into valleys

into rivers

that shape the plains

until they evaporate back into the sky

repeating over milennia

 

I wander the afternoon

the heat of the rail under my feet

the smell of soft leather from my sandals

balances in the shimmering air

air moving as radiant curtains of heat

that envelop my summer thoughts

 

in the slumber of my long summer vacation

I’ve wandered from my uncle’s house

on the edge of a town of two hundred people

a town whose thread is snagged on a rivet of time

that keeps a bell ringing on the door of a lone market

that keeps the vending machine at the solitary gas station full of ice-cold bottles of Orange Crush

that keeps the grazing smell of manure from dissipating

 

grasshoppers avoid my balancing act

and halt their chirping

when I skip off the rail

the gravel beneath my feet

crunches under my weight

 

the time between trains is the amplified silent matter of summer in a small town

when minutes blend with warm breezes

a context punctuated now and then by another train

when the town raises its brow with suspicion

that it brings something new

people

gadgets

secrets

change

 

I oscillate on the rail

looking ahead of me

then behind

nothing on the vast plain defines the point at which I stand

except the lazy present

I’m still a child too impatient for definitions

 

I close my eyes and imagine a horn

followed by subtle vibrations under my soles

I anticipate the direction to take

one that takes me further down the tracks

away from the securities of a town fixed in time

toward an oncoming imaginary train

 

when I open my eyes

I no longer see the rail as something else

the rail is a rail

the rail will be a rail

honest wind, honest town, honest grasshopper

are you to blame for the end of my summer

it wasn’t but a minute ago that you were undefined

 

adrift on the Colorado plain

still alone

my time on the rail is short knowing that soon an unimaginable train will come

 

 

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