E.K. Steelwater

The Unfolding

The freight train’s long-drawn cry
was a draggled plume of sound,
a stream running uphill
past the summer mansion
held up by its porches and our voices,
muffled in night’s hot velvet.
Ice in our glasses
was better than money
until the roar and shake of time
unfolded our winding sheets.

Now that blue snowlight
fills my window
like the light from a grieving heart,
I take up the rusting needle
threaded with those nights. The tatters
that I sew are meant for us,
who could not hear
beyond those thrumming nights
the freight train call us, one by one away.

E. K. Steelwater writes poetry, fiction, and essays in Bloomington, Indiana, where she has lived and worked as a historic-preservation consultant for 20 years. She was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her novel, Almost Human, is currently making the rounds of publishers, and this poem is the first she has submitted for publication in quite a few years.



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