Switchback
 



 

Manuals for Trains

Rebecca Morgan Frank

I was born with a train in my ear, its pitched
blast invading my body like a tuba-parasite.

Each conductor has a signature move.
I fell in love with the throating of the 3 am–

his consecutive wails warp around my dreams
and choke them into new directions.

Leaving town, I can’t sleep, wait
for the schedule, long for the surprise

of delay, a new man at the helm making
his mark on my landscape without ever

leaving a footprint. Not once seeing
my face in sleep even though I conjure

each him, how he feels in the power of speed
breaking the black quiet with fierce bursts of air.

I am an echo chamber for passengers
headed somewhere else.

They never stop for me, never open 
their doors, just power

through the crossroads with rumbling 
emphasis to their songs.