I’ve never before passed slowly enough

to register the little red fireplug

set a few inches too high on its base,

beyond which the grey bulk of the

power station keeps

its dispassionate watch.

Despite  their proximity,

they are not friends.


The origami abandoned

in the brush beside the tracks,

what does it mean?

The abandoned humans

under the overpass,

what do they mean?

They have folding chairs,

as though

the train’s passage

was as watch-worthy as

a concert or

holiday fireworks.


Restaurant employees

range for a smoke break

in the back parking lot

in the summer heat,

almost as if they were posed,

or perhaps posing,

for our passage.

In the urban wilderness next

the tracks,

free range grasses and

scrubby bushes

wave their scrappy leaves

in hello or farewell as

the train pulls by.


It is peaceful here

in the train depot,

surveying silent, abandoned cars

waiting patiently for their owners’


the denizens of the neighborhood

coexisting complacently with the chunk and

whistle of the train,

all the passersby,

the patrons of the bar, the

utilitarian apartment dwellers

redeemed by its age.


The train rolls through

the snowy serenity of

winter trees; no one

walks these tracks

in winter.

The land is untouched,

secret, despite the

brief voyeurism of

passing strangers.

Each tree branch is

artfully, carefully coated

in soft white,

outlining the tree’s


defining every detail.



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