Box cargo, box train, four carts, twenty carts, fifty carts. Two-mile watch, carts pull the same distance apart. Five carts pass, three carts pass, running hard, two carts pass, one cart.
Tempered and noiseless, just when the wheels stride, focused on that metal bar, it dips. I reach and pull up hard against the wind throwing my feet onto the cart and roll on with a push.
I broke a sweat shivering from the blasted cold air, but it felt good. No one knew where I was. I wanted it that way, free. I stood next to the edge. I made it. I was gone. I was almost out of St. Louis and across the Missouri boarder. I’d have a new start.
On the cart, in the dark, it’s safe to ride the track, leaving another world back there, another coming soon. I’m suspended between the two. Carried in a machine, bending the metal down, the engine could be under my feet. The track screeched, bolts, iron clamps, steel beams skid over rubbing metal.
Design moves it all forward, hands laying the tracks, the brut force energy churns. This is the roar in the gut of every person, this is the loud call, a machine set on tracks, performing its purpose, following a method, lest it be derailed. Methods of madness or sanity, we all lay tracks, we all hop trains.
We are exactly what a train implies, progression. Millions of progressions run the tracks inside before ever existing on the tracks of the world. What is inside those carts is what is inside me. I am either full or empty, or half full, or half empty. I am still on the ride moving forward.
I curl down listening to the echoing steel, looking out over large fields, and the glow of blurry parking lots. I look up at dark matter and red gasses, down at the train’s hard, polished surface, further down to the earth’s core, down at my own limbs, and know, I will always be on a train.
4 thoughts on “Train”
Beautiful write, Kate. I love the feeling of motion you’ve portrayed.
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Probably one of the most amazing poems I’ve ever experienced! My favorite line was “we all lay tracks, we all hop trains.” I’ve always been fascinated by trains but didn’t truly understand why until I read your poem. Keep writing! The world needs more of this.
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I’ve always had a real special connection with trains too, funny, after doing some research on my ancestry, I found out there were a few generations of railway workers. This was a fun poem to write, and thank you so much for visiting, reading, commenting.
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