Key West Poet Laureate Kirby Congdon (Photo by Richard Watherwax)

Keeping Track

I try to cross the tracks
as the engineer honks his horn.
“Get out of the way,” he calls.
I watch my step to arrive upright
on the other side.
“You don’t count,” the engine warns.
“I know,” I, resigned, respond.
Safely on the other side,
I feel the rush of wheels roll on by.
The engine, disappearing, cries,
“Count, count, count. Count, count, count.
“Next time, stand your ground,
“Only heroes overcome this trip’s sound
“of Grind, grind, grind.”
When the tracks end in a final crash,
my wrist watch, silent, here and now
counts the time that’s left
to be alive, alive, alive!

Kirby Congdon

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