(inspired by a rough-draft post I’d written a while ago on WordPress, here’s the extended version of that poem. Enjoy!).
Chemin de Fer
An early mist spreads the sky
like bed sheets on thin clouds,
layered with the breeze of
the Pacific Northwest
along the slumbering shore.
When the fog lifts, you can see
white cliffs streaked pink-green
with calcium that reminds you
of that September in Étretat,
perhaps even Dover,
where the cliffs hugged bodies
and begged them not to jump.
If you were to walk away
and into the forest,
you would see a ragged path
snake for miles along pine trees,
their tracks rusted from fires
that once glowed in the winter night:
they had flashed lightning as they
smashed iron into minerals against
fossil prints fused to the earth,
tasting red on bark.
This starved road, exiled from
brothers across the muted forest,
smells of burnt carbon still left
from the accident that had claimed
the chemin de fer:
Remains lie along the trail,
parts scattered like soldiers
who gave themselves up
to the ground’s gentle dream.
These solitude years hidden
in the Oregon forest have passed
from memory— they will erode
like cliffs by the sea, stained pink
of the red machine.
— The Finicky Cynic
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