The railyard throws out its chest, stretches its shoulders.
The Earth below bursts with track,
swells with wheels, fat with freight,
forms a delta, an enormous steel cattle drive.
I see the cars of the nation,
cars beside cars beside cars beside cars.
Beneath me, Kansas City.
Parked freight awaits
arrival and delivery,
promises kept by the carload,
futures secured with linkages and couplings,
engines and smoke, lurches and whistles,
choked by tonnage that yields to
the raw power of coal,
like the Earth’s exhalations
blowing boulders across a continent.
I am certain of stevedores,
lifting and heaving, sweating
in winter, breath
bellowing work into daylight.
This great congestion, this standing-room-only
stadium of goods, of hardware, of livestock,
grains, coal and parcels,
this economy bursting like cotton bolls
blinding whiteness across the Delta.
with thanks to Diane Kight