Friday, August 9, 2013

The Roundhouse


The coal powered engine crept along the narrow gauge track past the berm of goldenrod and 6 foot tall ironweed with its deeply burgundy flower clusters attractive to butterflies lined the way through the large bay opening into the roundhouse for routine greasing.

The heavy iron beast slowly rolled to a stop at the wheel block. His thick canvas yet warn glove grabbed hold of the vertical bar outside the engine’s open back caked with oily soot that had polished a black streak along the palm.

Stepping down facing forward toward the glorious curved design of the brick building filled like a railroad stockyard with its beasts getting tended to.

His dungarees stained with the grime of an engineer and boot leather nicked and scuffed from the hard work required each day.

Into the top center pocket went two fingers reaching for the candy bar, which he placed in it every morning at 4:30 as he stepped out the backdoor on his way to the yard.

Peeling away the wrapper, he walked out the open bay to where a patch of pokeberries grew full of their dark purple fruit lining the slender each individually positioned, one next to the other at the point to where they attach to the tiny stems like a ball upon the end of a very short pull chain. The juice stains permanently making an excellent fabric dye.

Bringing the sweet chocolate candy to his mouth, he placed it under his tongue allowing it to slowly dissolve, resisting chewing, letting the flavors mash upon the roof of his palate savoring what began as a solid, and now becoming a creamy gel further disappearing into a liquid.

The sun bright and warm upon his face as he lifted his head to accept the heat delivered from millions of miles away. Stepping back, his body leaned against a wall waiting for the next moment to arrive.