Apology to John Henry
Ryan Bonner
  This train-yard is no home, but it’s close
  with the ghost of mobility haunting

  every horn-blast; yet still I stay,
  stealing hours after dark to stutter

  down the lines and back again to find
  a place to lay and put off sleep like here

  between these two old freights scheduled
  to continue mañana with cargo I’ll never buy.

  I admit: I’m the one that pulled down
  the stars last night; I clawed the sky

  with these idle hands just to hear them
  fall on steel rails. Buttery explosions

  whitewashed every sooty whistle that night.
  I collected the glowing rocks, all my pockets

  could hold, to put towards a honest fare
  to that mythic land “Anywhere-but-here,”

  but dawn came right on time. That sweaty sun
  strolled across the sky, the way it always does,

  making fools of all. But, when that sun called
  it quits for the day, each star was remained

  where it belonged: fixed in the night’s canvas.
  I cursed my hubris for thinking I could change

  the sky, pockets full of rocks, and me
  no further from this train-yard than yesterday.

  How let down you would be, John Henry,
  if you could see all I haven’t done, if you could see

  how I’ve let your hammer rust. I’m sorry
  for not keeping the story straight. One day, I’ll quit

  this trainsmoke and drive my name through steel
  and dirt. I’ll haul at least one star through

  the Big Ben Tunnel near Talcott, West Virginia,
  even if I have to dig the tunnel myself.

Ryan Bonner's work has previously appeared in Barrow Street and Hayden's Ferry Review. Ryan received his MA in English from Texas Tech University and his MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. While at VCU, he served as an associate production editor and lead audio editor for Blackbird, an Online Journal.