Rid­ing Freight

Prairie Fire - - HONOURABLE MENTION - J. ROBERT FERGUSON

adrift on a line rever­ing ma­chine pre­ci­sion bear­ing our lives slowly

through in­ter­changes around blind cor­ners

cause­ways across muskeg mile mark­ers

where mot­tled bits of dross float

plas­tic bags in dead trees the only sign of civ­i­liza­tion

un­seen lulled on by the rhythm of this still­ness

open-air metal coffins the porches of grain cars

grime and soot the smell of grease fol­low­ing us through city

upon city, rai­l­yards

hushed by the bull’s flash­light

the yard work­ers’ high beams

in the name of this world’s sov­er­eign (Cap­i­tal)

a night of wilder­ness re­mains

blank to us above the plains oh lord at rest

at a sid­ing light­ning (pur­ple and gold) on all hori­zons

to emerge hun­dreds of miles later the magic trick pulled off un­scathed

and pray­ing to re­main grounded

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