Railroad Tracks in Snow
Walking north from Brattleboro
along the tracks I feel my footprints
texture the bleached landscape
the way gossip textures the mind.
Though I lack the inspiration,
I'd like to exult over the clash
of steel etched in snow and the valley's
slur of vapor, but there's no clash,
no suffering, only the surface
of the river marbled with ice
and the sour brick rears of buildings
on Main Street and the crisp railroad
curving out of sight among
black stalky bushes and saplings.
Uninspired, I can't effect
the force to visualize the flow
of mountains as slow analog
to the flow of the frozen river.
Nor can I explain how candid
the railroad looks as it rips
along the seam between the town
and the river. Its innocence
is that of a human gesture
that has somehow entered nature
with all its function intact:
its unsubtle geometry
a process instead of a fact.
Fall 2008 Table of Contents