Worry in Place: Insomniac’s Alarm

Title: Worry in Place: Insomniac’s Alarm

Submitted by: Chris G.


Worry in Place: Insomniac’s Alarm

Our male tomcat with one eye
blue, one green
is drawn to my rustling of,
wrestling with flannel sheets, log cabin quilts;
he curls into my side,
his purr a low rumble.
We both startle at the 5 AM freight
sounding its horn
with three short bleats;
then another, nearer, higher pitched,
offering three long blasts;
then a third train, farther along.
I’m surprised by the last
in such quick succession,
the deep tenor of its five siren calls.

I imagine their engines on parallel tracks,
the cars passing,
one blue, one green,
one blue, one green,
one blue, one green.
Gaps between Canadian National Railway, CSX,
Norfolk Southern move.
Negative spaces blur, fill, grow;
north, south become east, west.

Though they’ve probably passed the city limits,
I fear the trains stalling in Saginaw:
stopped along switchbacks by the river,
cars wait to uncouple, rejoin with a click,
their sides sprayed with neon tags.
I wave them onward
onto veins, arteries
crossing the continent,
sounding their lonesome cries,
bearing their toxic waste,
cargoes of propane, potential flame elsewhere.