A thick fog rose and descended
One way and the other,
Meeting in the middle,
In the middle of the night.
The air was thick with wetness.
Halos encircled the various lamp lights.
A high pitched whistle wailed in the distance.
It was the midnight train.
Brett often heard the midnight train from his bed
Every night it screeched
Metals wheels on metal rails.
Growing soft to loud before fading soft again.
He liked the sound.
It was strangely soothing.
The power, the ingenuity, the industry.
All testifying that the world continued
Even as most fell asleep.
That night when the fog came up
And the mist came down,
Meeting in the middle
Brett heard the screach of breaks.
Never had the midnight train stopped before.
Never was the opportunity so accessible.
Brett put on his thick spring jacket
And snuck out into the shapeless night.
Brett knew the streets.
The way they lit,
the way they bent,
And where to find the tracks.
Rocks piled up in the middle of two roads
Lined with wooden bones and metal rails.
Brett looked down the tracks both ways,
Listening to the quiet whistle of the still train.
There was an echo that made him unsure.
Was the train ahead or behind?
He saw a light floating above the tracks
Out in the bitter cold fog.
Was it the train or was it the moon?
It hung in the middle of the tracks and the sky
Refusing to shift its position
Giving away it’s nature.
Brett stood on the tracks walking towards it.
The light remained at a fixed distance.
Cautious steps soon became casual
Then casual steps became hurried.
The boy had begun jogging towards the fixed light.
The engine roared and whistled,
Echoing off the thick fog void.
Calling out the true location
Of the colossal black-iron brute.
Brett climbed into the metal cab,
Hidden in the fog
In the middle of the night
Aboard the midnight train…
…Which rumbled with force
and began to move forward.
- J.D. Clair