by George Moore
I do not remember locomotives by name.
I see the trains in the Newark terminal
commuters hurrying to board and disappear
into steam clouds and a world beyond my view.
The blowdown and oil smelled of iron scorched
in fires fed by gray men in filthy overalls.
When my father left one days and never returned
the trains continued to carry me outward
by common rails by grease sweat and exhaust
across borders and seas to find myself alone.
The cars ratcheting a beat on the rail seams
sleeping to the rhythm in my mother’s lap.
Conscious of the steady stream of time
sweeping us up and back to the age of steam.
George Moore’s collections include Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FurureCycle 2016) andChildren’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015). Poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Arc, North American Review, Stand, Orion, and The Colorado Review. His work was recently shortlisted for the Bailieborough Poetry Prize and long-listed for the Gregory O’Donoghue Poetry Prize.