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David Alexander McFarland



David Alexander McFarland has been published internationally, in such places as Southern Humanities Review, Coe Review, and two poems were recently published by Cathexsis Northwest Press. He lives in northwestern Illinois where the Mississippi River runs east to west.


In the night sometimes we talk of trains,
saying how there ought to be more,
high speed like the one from Paris
to Angouleme, to compete with the airlines
get some cars and trucks off the roads.

From Paris to Angouleme
I saw sunflower fields
out to the horizon—
as in a story book,
a fantasy—
a moment to be savored in memory
like a fine Parisian dinner.

With a great train ride we could be soon in Atlanta,
have all day in Chicago, go west to the Grand Canyon,
maybe all the way to the Golden State
to see if sunsets there really are.

That spring night before my mother’s funeral
six trains came through that tiny town slowly,
blowing horns well before and long after—
rocking over old rails, vibrating the air and ground,
touching every house in town.
Two blocks away, that son ancien,
that primeval noise fixed forever in my brain.

Now I hear them
all times of the year,
trains on both sides
of the Mississippi,
sliding through while horns
doppler along the bluffs.
And I think of her,
waiting in a funeral home,
me in bed wanting to cry,
too tired to do so.
Too many compacted moments playing out.
Pacing myself for that final reunion.

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