The conductor

                  He thinks
the passing house a littoral one in the dark.
On his trip back to town in next day’s light
he will see it landlocked–
to think this will happen in a second’s
gasp. For now, he thinks
the moon out his window shines
a lakehouse on a shore whose waves he hears
glint in silvery footslaps all the way
to the rail’s end. There,
his train’s old wheels grind to a stop
moments before their crustal coming to
                  to retrace their tracks
and start their rusted going forward, now
in dawn’s winced flush.
                  To think of the second
when not-knowing is doused in the color
of his own sun-metal reflection, when
night-knowing, which was sea-
                  shimmer, becomes just
a car-bejeweled parking lot in morning.
The gasp, then his breath and shoulders fall,
                  new low waterline
of loss marked by the bark of his forehead
gone slack,
                  cheeks drained of blood, his long blink.

Front page image by Robert Shell.

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