Steam was almost gone

And the music came through the open window
as I would lie, not sleeping,
as my mother intended.

The screech and squeal of steel on steel.
The engine rumbling up to a roar,
the cars, banging together.

A bill of lading for each
connected together and bound for
well, who knows where?

Carrying what? I didn’t know.
Circus animals? Bombs for the war?
My 11 year old mind full of wonder.

And who drove those trains?
What kind of men were they?
As men they would have to be.

Bib overalls, engineer caps, boots.
Those weren’t things for girls.
They were big, strong, men.

They would shovel that coal,
stoke that boiler and
the steam would pour out the stack.

For maybe, the last time.
The Diesel’s were taking over.
Steam, was almost gone.

As sleep overcame I heard the whistle
and the rumble as the train pulled out.
And I prayed that steam, wasn’t gone.

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