Allegheny Portage Railroad

climbing this cold mountain
half your face in shadow

moon which daytime cloud
have you made your nest in

immense turbine blades
are rising and falling

above the trees
above the roar of traffic

where a cold hiker
can feel drawn

to a dark twist of roots
suspended above a ravine

or a cliff shaggy
with hipster icicles

along a trail designed
by the national park service

to showcase ‘a gateway
to western settlement’

i keep mistaking the sound of the turbines
for my own pulse

a runner in ultralight shoes
shadowed by clouds of breath

keeps his eyes on the ground
a steady incline

built to haul canal boats
over the allegheny front

while below the trail
in a 200-year-old culvert

for a creek that’s wandered
off into another bed

i gape at stalactites of ice
dripping into a pool

bright with late afternoon sun
the whole glowing summit

captured there
under an arch of mortared stone

the red west of sunset
here and now

no need to ride
off into it

***

For more, see the NPS website.

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