Change

Jared Pearce

I want the change to hit me like a locomotive.
Something like the woman who, unpacking
Her trunk for the church dinner, stopped, looked
At the blank Wisconsin sky, then calmly,
Would you look at that bright light?

When her friends turned around to see the light,
She was crumpled into some new being
At which they could only guess, from their hymns,
From their dreams. Looking at her was looking down
A tunnel: does the darkness rumble?

When Dad and I would drive electric trains, he’d say,
Take it slow down hill, and I was always
Surprised when that solid metal engine flopped
Off its rails: no skidding, no premonition,
Just the dead weight of its clunk and gears

When it hit the table. Its tender wheels half-stroked the air,
Then the silence it made, an inch
From all the life it ever had, some of its cars
Cracked with it, others still in line, with made-up
People wondering, Will we ever get where we want?