No cars, no roads, 20 miles
or more from the nearest town.
A shopping trip two days, at least.
Three times a week the steam locomotive
chugs in loaded with groceries and visitors.
Dead calm endless boreal forest,
whistle shrieks, engine pants,
coalsmoke billows, sparks fly,
steel wheels rumble against rails,
clouds hiss out undercarriage.
On hot, dry summer days children crowd
dining car confectionary
craving ice cream, rare as cheese
from the backside of the moon.
Forty years he works the railroad,
hoists blackened ties to his shoulder,
disappears into the woods on his speeder,
bosses the crew to check and fix the track,
and always home in time for supper.
Now cars and trucks race up the highway,
snort exhaust, stuff their tanks full of money.