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May 2023
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.
Kiernan Norman
Written by
Kiernan Norman  Connecticut
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