The Long Sweet Goodbye

Photo – Roger Puta

The rails had seen better days

So we crept along at a snail’s pace

Under big blue midwestern skies

Young corn, wheat and hay flanking us

We stood in the open vestibule

Taking in the fresh air

Feeling the heat

Of that early summer morning

We stopped behind a row of tidy houses

Eating breakfast in the diner

Enjoying the shade of their pretty backyards

Waiting for the more important trains

Which was all of the other trains

To get where they needed to go first

Late? Hours not minutes

No one was in a hurry

Conductors still whistled and held kerosene lamps

Porters still turned down bunks

Chefs still cooked from scratch

Food made in motion

Served on real railroad china

Waiters holding onto their pride to the last

The great lines were dying

Some of them died sweetly, softly

And we mourned sweetly, softly

For that which once was

And could never be again

© Glenn R Keller 2021, All Rights Reserved

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