I lie awake in the darkness, listening. The whistle blows.
The locomotive moves and breathes. The powerful, airy rush, the clack of metal wheels on metal tracks, the wooden groans of a bridge. The whistle blares.
A metal serpent cuts through the night. It moves with purpose. Down a straight track it moves, always the right direction. The whistle calls.
The man in the beast executes with cold precision. Mechanically, he moves. Mechanically, he works. He is as alive as the train. The whistle cries.
My husband breathes beside me. Inhales softly. Exhales with finality. Inhales, exhales. In, out. I stare into darkness, try not to toss. The whistle fades.
I try to conjure early evening. Light not dead, birds still singing, blue lake and blue sky and tender buds all around me. It’s early Springlike, though summer should be coming. I conjure warmth and life and friends. The whistle blows: another train.
I lie awake in the darkness, listening.