Today's poem is by Kathleen Flenniken

The Sound of a Train

I first heard it in the mornings.
I'd scan the hibernating garden and sky,
sure there were no tracks nearby.

Then other hours, other trackless hillsides.
Once along the leaf-brown lakeshore I heard
a train's wail — the very breath of grief. I turned

and saw a flash like a stag in the trees
before the dark scene stilled. Then I knew.
My mother and father were aboard.

My parents ride through the living world
and watch for me. If I could find their tracks
I'd wait patiently, the way I used to

at boarding gates, with lop-eared flowers
from the garden, hungry for stories
of their holidays away. But the ghost train

leaves no tracks. It never stops. Its stations
are unknown to me. My parents can't disembark
or catch my eye or say how good it is

to be together again. Another whistle announces
they are near, side by side, gazing out
at the world. I listen to them passing by.

What travelers they are.

Copyright © 2005 Kathleen Flenniken All rights reserved
from Green Mountains Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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