Andrew Jarvis, "Rail Man"




He has a twisted cane and strap

hoisting his busted leg and hip

burnt from the unforgiving steam.


His legs refuse to stand alone,

to strengthen a railway worker,

a broken man steaming upright.


And he speaks of the ties, the spikes

hammered into the railroad track,

blasted moments of derailment.


The ballast, anchor, and roadbed,

the torn unfastened fastenings,

they severed his whole to his parts.  


He opens his pain, unfolding

his scarred fingers and fanning them,

digits dividing the mountains.


And then he traces a landslide,

a steep carving, plummeting slope,

a route where trains will roll, speeding.



Andrew Jarvis is the author of Choreography (Johns Hopkins University), Sound Points (Red Bird Press), Ascent (Finishing Line Press), and The Strait (Homebound Publications). His poetry has appeared in Stonecoast ReviewPilgrimage MagazineRiver Poets JournalRattapallax, and many other literary magazines. He was a Finalist for the Homebound Publications Poetry Prize. He also judges poetry contests and edits anthologies for Red Dashboard LLC.