The words are whittled in-
to woody planks, tethered
to an Eastern Shore dock—
a petition inscribed by one
who stridently chiseled it in-
to existence. A reverent prayer
now notable to the residents
there. Sometimes sung under
the breath, life-giving
words carried on the crabbing
Chesapeake Bay winds.
I sauntered the dock, nocturnally
beheld the sky there, a spread-
open Milky Way—absent city lights,
a different sky; a curtain
draping the heavens in
an unfamiliar marvel. I exposed
my smallness, a wilted note sung faintly
beneath the remarkable breadth.
From the stilted mooring I sang the words,
singing them over a whittled-under
Harborton prayer, adding where I live now;
“…where I live now.”
There is an imperceptible popping,
the sound of a groaning railroad-bridge splintering,
its sagging trusses bearing heavy loads
she knows a single car could never abide.
There is a wanting; she can see it,
the thousand-yard stare, something brooding
below the surface, bubbling-up like sulfur
cueing the cliché of an impending geyser.
“I’m going to the American Legion,”
words that halve her heart in-
between holding reins and loosing to the river
her pressing stallion, still unbroken.
She believes the Legion is where kinsmen meet,
where we talk about our railroad-cars,
where they were made, what they carry,
what model, unit, and number they are.
She says we are a Legion of model-train collectors,
like tradesmen with a language of our own—
always the topic is railroad-cars;
we never mention bridges.