By Barrett Mohrmann
I lay my face against the floor, the
pine boards cool, my face flush with summer.
Though the original floor went to scrap long ago,
those work-wearied footfalls echo through time.
The brusque smell of coal, your hands black as earth, your face the burnt tip of a match. No
doubt, you swallowed up the whisky in the company store
and sought stronger stuff in the pine-veiled hills,
dying the noblest death you knew, as the children
slept on mats in the loft above. Would you care that
the tracks still run along the Greenbrier, toward the
dusk-lit horizon, aglow like molten iron?
Would you care that train still shuttles through spruce
and ash up Cheat Mountain? Draped in steam, sunlight
piercing the silver air in pale rods, as the engine lurches past
the forgotten mill.
I expect not. The river rushes past, freed of timber,
and children salute you with novelty whistles. Maybe,
like the rust-red axe-head beneath the pine nettles, you
found a place to observe eternity in peace.
About the Author
Barrett Mohrmann’s poetry has appeared in Wilderness House Literary Review, Ariel Chart, and Umbrella Factory Magazine. He studied English at the College of William & Mary where he was a finalist for the Glenwood A. Clark Fiction Prize. Barrett also worked for several years as a reporter with The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Va.