This carriage groans with its own heft.
It has been here too long:
The paint falls from its flanks,
The leather of its seats has formed patterns:
Little stars spreading into other stars; white lines of split leather.
Please be seated.
There is a clock in the platform window; black hands saying
It is time to go.
It lurches and yaws, and the luggage nets wobble.
A child grasps the pitted stainless steel posts.
Wobble and roll.
A frail woman in a wheelchair waves as the carriage slides from view.
Her man is aboard, beaming, sucking in the engine’s black smoke:
Past the duck-back cottage, past the white church –
Ever up the line.
Tickets, please – and silver snips punch a hole.
The young conductor gives them a twirl:
There’s a gunslinger on the line
Originally posted on http://poetry.org.nz/john-keast/gunslinger-on-the-line/