After miles of coasting, trailing a stretch of steel remembered more as an artery than a scar,
(back when the sun-stained arms and scratchy palms that laid each track across an endless America felt ageless and exhausted;
gripping great-grandbabies, bibles and whittled pipes, fingers coiled and knotted with stories, ready to spring forth and croon if only they were asked.)
They didn’t talk much during the in-between: that window of time when their bodies were no longer cracking and howling, rooting rungs into dry grass from ocean to ocean; fitting the landscape with a skeleton of its own-
but before the true rest, when they'd let their bones shake out the tight grip of untold tales, and sink into the dirt they helped carve.
You think of them now as dust, a rosary planted under pine, a Sunday grace, a shared plot, a middle name. You do, don’t you? You’re not really looking.