In the train, the first train
to run over the brand new tracks
The clank, the hiss, the slamming of doors
as the huge weight of steel, wood, coal, luggage, passengers,
moved slowly out of Windsor Station.
The jolts, sudden lurches, settled into
a steady rocking flow out over the St. Lawrence plain,
into the barely lemon sky of late afternoon,
over new bridges, immobile under this first test,
proud and nonchalant.
Sonya sat upright, her new hat
for fear the sweating effort of shoveling coal
the terrible power of steam,
would blow it off her head.
Blow her little jacket off, her dress, her petticoats,
Leaving only her black lace-up boots,
protected by the foot-board of the plush seat.
She would sit, young and naked, a figurehead
for the mighty train, delivering its power,
its majesty, its unraveling of the future.
If the young porter invited her to the dining car, she would murmur,
“Oh, no, look what has happened to me.”
A glance down at her white body
seated like the wife of Pharaoh.
And he, in his new uniform,
the collar a little stiff around his Adam’s apple,
fallen already in love with her at that instant,
would pull down the window sash, take her in his arms,
and together they would float out into the just-evening sky
decorated with a few pale stars.
Up over Lake Ontario while the new train
plunged fearlessly on over the Canadian Sheild.