The Coast Starlight
by Greg Gregory

The train glides along its clear rails.
Images change through the window.
We arc around the coast cliffs then fly north.

I waited, bundled in my child's coat
in the old Pennsylvania train station
waiting with my mother in the early years.

The train speaks in soft voices,
a tremolo of wheel and rocking
as it rushes along like the arrow of time.

I played with Lionel trains in the old house
in the screened-in porch that summer
with my father that year before he died.

I walk through the linked coaches
haunted by bits of conversation.
The dining car tempts with food and wine.

Eating at the diner that summer break from college,
walking across empty tracks in the evening,
the rails seemed to stretch from me to their vanishing point.

Afterward, I return to my sleeper.
The sun sinks. In an ocean of stars a nuance of moon
stretches out like a delicate bridge.


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