Study of Iron Horses
In the yard an idle freight strings out
its list of anvils, the gondolas dark, brakes
mute, the coal drag waiting to smolder
around a bend in the line to another crossing.
Grain coffins, parcel containers, flatcars, & carriage rumps
attend. The track bed settled & still. There is no sign
of who is the monitor among these pigeons
clapping over the yard & lighting on its steeled ribs,
no mark of a surveyor to note how it’s all coupled.
Like how a spider feels for vibrations, long filaments
reach out to tell when one is coming,
& this a harbor to take them in — these engines
which would haul out of this world
to a depot as it was or a station as it could be,
to dustbins, to mail hooks, or some Nevada
irrigated by iron & lined with catenaries no one
can see by daylight or otherwise,
since it is a future
dried with only itself in mind.
But for this, where is the late watch? Peering
to the point where the rails appear
to converge, awaiting ditch lights
which will swing forward & announce another berth?
The yard bristles to hold them,
the undercarriages bearing one way
or another. They are matted black
by a grease that can be smelled from here.about the author