The railways were the veins and arteries of the smallest towns.
From the sky, you can still see them,
The communities that blossom around those threading lines,
And the scars in the land where other towns once stood
And passed into forest,
Into great thick slides of mud, washed into the river.
Railways are surgical cuts
Through lands that attempt to fight the operation.
They provide passage,
But they also carry infection.
Back in the deep country
Following the lines of metal
It is easy to see the other cargo of the trains
The plants from foreign countries,
The strange insects that sit on the trees,
The eyes of creatures that do not belong
Looking up from the underbrush.
Even when the houses and the people have passed,
The tattoo of our presence is burnt into the soil
A cluster of thistles,
Seeding into the autumn wind.
It is interesting to see the intersection of the natural and the built, and the unexpected ways that human presence persists.