“Crawdads and Train Tracks,” Zeke Sanchez

Michael Diehl, The Mighty Columbia


“Crawdads and Train Tracks”


Watch him go down a steep road
Sun behind him casting shadows,
and on the return up the same incline
Sun in the face now, story still untold

To emerge as a man. A woman sleeps
In the house around the bend,
Dreams in her head.  The man still wanting
To complete the story which
Can never be, now.  One brother
departed, in a grave, you
Can never explain things to him with his cold hands,
Why you were absent, why,
When the horn was blasted
You didn’t come running.

Hidden behind a winter’s blow,
Frozen ground, the boy of indeterminate age
Crouched over the heater, wind cutting,
House empty.  Where will the answers
Be?  Who to turn to, the younger brother
In the grave now, who wants answers,
The living or the dead?  Which brother
To answer?

With each tug of wind
More remnant of the foliage falls,
Curb littered with dead leaves,
Memories silent as the frozen ground. I
Cannot know the survivor says, My brother
You are free now, the dead one responds,
There is no division, nothing to regret

We were so different.
Still, in one inseparable, silent moment,
Expanding outward, we breathed
Together long ago in the tules, across the railroad tracks—
You hunting crawdads, your childhood obsession. And       
Me, obsessed with where the railroad went.

Zeke Sanchez


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