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by Alan Palm
The headlight cuts through the cool black night
Is it rocks up ahead or a trick of the light?
A whitetail crosses the track in a bound
Eyes rolled back with fright at our sound.
Out of the canyon into bright moonlight
Where over the shoulder in the Brakeman's sight
The cars aligned in a long parade
Jingle and rumble on the easy grade.
The markers twinkle at the nether end
Visible only on a long sweeping bend
No flames from the journals, no sparks from the rails
An answer to the prayer that no running gear fails.
The exhaust barks gather in a long dark row
That feather in her cap is the Fireboy's show
The injector whistles in the Brakie's ears
Rendering him deaf to the Hogger's jeers.
The jokes fly freely on this easy trip
On a crisp autumn night before winter's grip
No switching, no pickups, no long waiting "meet
A truly rare and delightful treat.