Tuesday, April 1, 2008

East Deerfield

End of March at the railroad yard.

Track branch off like broccoli,

the burnished rails bright enough

to critique unshielded eyes.

From the overpass I focus

on a string of diesel engines

parked near tall rusty silos.

A pair of sand towers suggests

salt and pepper shakers on stilts.

This Sunday the abandoned brick

signal tower looks like a tomb.

The ladderwork of yard tracks

hardly looks sturdy enough

to serve a viable commerce.

I’ve photographed this scene before,

but never caught such absolute

stasis, so much failed momentum.

The yard stands almost vacant,

no more than a dozen freight cars

looking useless in the glare. I kneel

and peer straight down at the tracks

passing under the bridge. Imagine

leaping to the roof of a boxcar

as the train passed. Surely I’d slip

and tumble between the cars

and many wheels would slice me

into portions modest enough

for the naked soil to digest.

But I won’t try it, not today

with no trains moving and the black

diesels gazing down their snouts

as if deep in contemplation.

I snap my photos and enjoy

the trill of sun on polished steel,

then rise from my artistic crouch

and stretch myself like a carnivore,

the rails complex as the rib cage

of my best and latest kill.