When Imagination Is the Runaway

Renee Soto

Tonight’s 11:58 freight train, boxcar
           horizon, is more than a familiar melody
                                            pulling me along into distraction, wheel

on rail, car coupled to car: its full-speed
           tornado roar and organ chord are whistling
                                            for my imagination, one more hobo

lured to skip towns, switch trains & tracks:
           first-hitch here, Chesapeake & Ohio, next-jump,
                                            north on Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac.

Knowledge lurches with midnight’s slow thump:
           “You will never dream again. You will always be naked.
                                            You will not stay up anymore

and solve for x if a=truth and b=magic, and a+b=x.”
           Wasp bodies and paint flecks lie in the bedroom windowsill—
                                            I don’t look one more time,

just to see. “X” is as definite
           as railroad gauge: the measured space between two
                                            parallel iron rails bridged by wooden sleepers.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro
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RENEE SOTO lives in Savannah, Georgia, where she is Managing Editor of Southern Poetry Review and teaches at Armstrong Atlantic State University. Her work appears in Cimarron Review and Crab Orchard Review. She received her MFA from UNC Greensboro.