The CSX night freight skirts the edge
of the county, fifteen backroad crossings,
its low discordant horn
unfurling like a dark flower
from a twisting, rumbling vine.
My husband snores softly, far
beside me in our king-size bed.
I stretch an arm to reach him;
he lies beyond my grasp.
One night, not yet thirty, I sat up
to find the death-angel standing bedside,
a darker shade among the shadows.
Knowing in some deep crease of mind or soul
that surely I slept still, I scoffed
and lay back into easeful sleep.
Twenty years later, the spectre
lingers at the fringe of sight,
easily ignored ′til reappearing,
less and less tolerant
of my forgetting.
I know that there’s a train a-comin’,
but this one, this night, is passing, is passed,
leaving only its dizzying fragrance
spinning the bed beneath me.