boxcar funeral parlor

the prairie became an extension of the city

thanks to the railroad

so finding solitude was easy,

in the yard steaming hot

through haze cyclops diesels

rumbled threatening inert freight,

a man nimble over tracks

knew passage between the lines

many years spent here

living on the perimeter,

where boxcars became brittle and fell apart,

it was here he served god

and those others displaced,

god was an argument for cheap whiskey

and sorry nights,

the others came to him

as in his throat he had words and lyrics

written in his own hand,

his boxcar a place for the dead

those whose limbs had ceased in all exhaustion,

he spoke sermon gave a sense of rapture

then would take each body out

to that solitude for burial,

wind caught and burned faces

heaven a casual component,

the sky a vault

and mountain halls echoing nature,

love had evaded him for so long,

passion cast upon the train

making right for those about,

even in slumber he did not crave

the early life that was chest deep in darkness,

fellow man and a swirl of small favors

cleansed his sanity,

he labored as a persistent mouse

to save the dead from further disgrace,

and hoped his dust would find

the same



illustration 9

ants loud enough

close to his head,

reprieve of summer cool

as he lay under his cart

pushed for close to a mile

finding geography

awkward to place

despite being his city once,

his mind a squoze larvae

thoughts brief as a snakes hiss,

irritable tongue of weeds,

lying still

close to impossible,

underpass old concrete walls

tagged by youth

more used to shooting than talking

overhead cars heat and horses,

smells nasal reverberations

he would feel quieter

if at the bottom of a lake

where on it’s silted bed

with fishes as companions

devouring algae from his closed  eyes,

heat would be gone

and his mind would make sense,

the moon did not bring night rain,

eventually he stood

rocking on heels

than began to walk

this time he would find the start

of his journey