When you wake with trains
you can only guess at the burdens
they carry. No engineer pulls
the horn long except as portent,
as omen to a crossing — genuflection
at the mouth of possibility.
Who’s to say what gets dragged
through the plains before dawn,
maybe Canadian wood — plank —
maybe the stiff prayers of our days
mumbled ‘til mute, quartersawn,
strapped down and rumbled.
(Maybe the sweet distillates
of commerce, maybe blood)
Who’s to say. Who’s to say
what lofty freight, what import
drives the engineer’s hand
to blare this passage
In such a way as to rally the dogs
of night in a beckoning. Is it safe
to say that those whose ears
are perked to this, whose eyes
cannot mark such iron clear sense
something in the howls they fear.