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 cageof my best and latest kill.