45 seconds

My sister smashed her dark thoughts out on a day
after black coffee, on a pass.
I think she went with friends from the hospital,
I imagine she didn’t say anything while she sipped.
I picture her going outside,
lighting up a cigarette,
and walking to the railroad tracks.

I think she lay her head down on the steel,
I imagine she didn’t sob while she cried.
I picture a conductor broke his face into a rictus knowing what was now going to happen.

He braked his train and sounded the horn in vain,
Sounded the horn, sounded the horn,
wailed in despair and maybe smashed his hand on the control board
and looked around desperately like everyone does who would try to escape what is going to happen.

I imagine he looked for help from someone near,
and thought of his children he’d be sitting down to dinner with that night.

He didn’t sob that night at dinner, either.
He tried not to when he called us to apologize and condole.
He did, though, sob in the arms of his wife that night,
reliving forty-five seconds of inevitablity,
driving his unstoppable machine over a poor girl’s head.

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