Walking the Ties

A poem.

Walking the Ties

A short-cut to town
and I take it, stretch my legs

across cinders to reach
the next creosote-darkened timber,

the next gray-splintered beam.
Alert for the rumble and shake,

I walk the ties, goldenrod
and field daisies in my hands

know it will be hours
before the two o'clock freight

heading west, hours before
the whistle-warning

Get off the tracks!
From the road

I wave to the engineer
who almost always

waves back from his high cab
as if he knows

I want to be on board
wherever this train is going.

Jeanne Lohmann

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