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I live about a half mile from the train. The tracks follow the long curve of Bellingham Bay and the train sounds its horn repeatedly along the way, always the same four blasts, long long short long. I wrote a little poem about it and D.W. Adams, who likes trains, included it in today’s edition of Train: a poetry journal.


night sounds…

The trains are busy at night. Lying in bed, I can feel their vibrating rumble, their night poetry, even all these blocks away. Their warning horns blow a solo into the darkness, some hoarse and rude, heavy-handed, some lyrical. One, I discover, is Q, the Morse code dah dah dit dah audible from one end of the bay to the other. Q, it says, I’m the Q train. Coal train, quatrain, Coltrane, Q train…

blue roofs…

pastel drawing by D.A. KleinbergThis is what I remember about the place my mother went when the doctor sent her away: the drives up the coast in the ‘49 Dodge, the blue roofs, her stories of the train that sliced through the grounds: how she couldn’t sleep for several nights then never heard it again.

I went back to the place with the blue roofs years later. The roofs were still blue, the night train still noisy. I think I expected it to be familiar, mysterious or romantic, large in the way that all things are large to a three-year-old. But it was by then an ordinary place, a hotel with slightly tired furnishings and children splashing and screeching in the swimming pool. The grounds were manicured around the bungalows, flowers blooming, but I couldn’t find anything, or anyone, I knew. Not my mother. Not my father, opening the car door so I could climb out of the back seat. Not my confused and frightened young self.
pastel drawing by DAK 1951

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