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What is it about

the wailing

train at night?

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I would hop

a car with just enough

hay to make a pillow

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lie there swaying

full moon strobing

through the open doors

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can’t tell if it churns

north or south

I’m just passing through.

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©  2017  Betty Hayes Albright

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Momma do you hear it too –
the rhythmic chuffing
of the train
across the night?
I wait with you,
watch you sleep
(as you once watched me
long ago)
between your storms
of fretful churning.

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Momma do you hear it too?
The train is near,
the track of it,
its mounting rush
comes closer
in its hallowed haunt
then passes by
fading in the night.

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You waken,
take my hand and say
you long for home,
you must go home –
you’ve packed your thoughts
into a denim bag,
your favorite books
are piled neatly by the door.

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I whisper that one timeless day
your train will come a’whistlin’
all decked out with
a red caboose
(the way trains used to be)
and you’ll wave at the engineer
and he will brake for you
at that sacred terminal.

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© 2015 Betty Hayes Albright

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She finds the old footprints,

follows them past mothers

with splashing children,

past men and dogs

chasing sticks in waves,

past the log

where he changed the lens

in his camera.

She follows them

to virgin beach

where shells aren’t broken

and shadows sleep wet

under rocks.

And there she sinks

into warm sand

and counts lost ships

Edmonds, Washington

circling in the strait.

Where has my Captain gone,

she wonders,

Where’s my compass now?

The Amtrak knows.

It rumbles south

with a woulda-coulda-shoulda

echoing down the track.

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(c) 1995, 2014 Betty Hayes Albright

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