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  • I had forgotten about trains
    the squealing sound of brakes
    sending rhythmic shivers down spine.
    Nights with metallic edges, long and cold
    full of tunnels
    that cry tears of stars against
    back-lit broken fences
    piercing promising moonglow
    out of a conductor's eye.

    Conductors exist!

    I thought these were just ghost-trains,
    pirate ship apparitions arising out of fog furnaces.
    But there's no fog in these dry desert hills,
    only dust upon dust
    and conductors,
    driving trains full of wheat and oil and other evils into
    the sides of mountains and out again.
    Or maybe these mountains swallow things whole...
    "a sudden surge of conductor fatalities spurs search teams into action",
    lured by the promise of the latest, the last, and only frontier...
    what can be found in a conductor's eye
    as he takes his last breath
    in some forgotten tunnel in the Rockies.

    To so love a thing that one would follow it into the deepest crevasses of the Earth...
    the conductors, the postmen, the pizza-delivery boys of this planet
    deserve to be congratulated
    for caring so much about so little.
    But birds still fly without wind
    and the rest of us keep on flowing like this river
    even if our edges have froze,
    and most conductors make it, I hear, unlike the dozen or so that die every year chopping wood.
    Around here even the dust can kill you, they say,
    and I believe it.
    It's already settled in my bones, otherwise I couldn't love this landscape as much as I seem to.
    But the dryness must get to you after a while...
    maybe those loggers get in accidents just to shed a few tears.

    I saw it, here, another life, like when I visited Grandpa John in South Carolina.
    I came home filled with fantasies of church suppers and babies,
    so many babies.
    It could happen here too.
    But I think I've become too fond of tears
    and they always flow more freely in wetter climes.
    And the moss of magical islands with their furry friends
    who become forest creatures
    beckon me with sweet promises of probable dances.
    And I dream of so many oceans unraveling themselves in currents,
    into fish-stream feelings of abundant harvests.
    After 10 days of ginger tea for dinner and 4am gong bells
    gratitude flows...
    and even conductors have found a place in my heart.
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