The history of train travel

Every bay is swollen
and the Amish girls sing softly
their two voices in harmony

as are their hats
which color also white
sat swirled in lace

as every bay is, swollen frozen
reflecting, thoughtful even
while the red barn passes

as though this train were still
and instead the buildings
all these barns of Delaware

were racing backwards
into the past of nearly new
before becoming lumber

becoming nails and slate
and then trees with a memory of people
and this is how the red barn passes

into the history of train travel
which is the history of the modern world
and America particularly

with alphabets of observation
scattered invisible along every car
like newspapers of the soul discarded

by passengers long gone
and so this line, this rail of steel
this string of words

is the history of train travel
is the history of the modern world
and America particularly.

[1996]

 
 

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