The Gift of the River: Poem

they are working on the rails this
morning and it feels like an emergency—
with flashing lights and
heavy equipment all lined up
on iron.

the crossing is closed. sepia-
toned trees gawk against
the rose of the sky’s tattered
hem and traffic slows to

the hills peeking over remind
me of that pre-glacial sculptor—the
Teays River—that raged through
this little valley, flattening land
for road and rail and

creating the possibility of this
gift: a far off whistle blowing;
the pull into an embrace and
the voice that speaks home
all over this soil.

Listen to it:

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Linking up with Bonnie today:


And Emily:



  1. says

    Ok, now I know I can be clueless about some techy things, but this little sound cloud (which by the way I’ve never seen!) is amazing. I loved hearing you read your work.

    Do it again, do it again!

  2. says

    Your words are more powerful than a locomotive…

    And Amy’s right: Your voice rises over like a beautiful steam cloud.

    I wonder how you could incorporate this more. Maybe we’ll all wait, like traffic, here at the crossing and wonder, too. Seriously, though: Maybe you’ve been hearing a voice lately. Maybe pay attention. It might be time to carve out a new stretch of gift.

    “All over this soil.”

  3. says

    This is so rich, Laura. My son and his wife live in a small town in Texas. While visiting, I remember hearing the lonely sound of a train whistle late in the night. It gave me chills, in a good way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *