Summer evenings ablaze with fireflies,
lightning lanterns signaling in dew-tipped
grass, we paraded our bare, rock-toughened
feet up and down the mound of earth covering
the storm cellar—brides or queens in procession.
Then, in the distance, we would hear the whistle,
track clatter of a passenger train imagining
its way to a city, no stop near this one-stop-
light town, shuttered when Route 66 shuddered
to sleep. Inside the cars, silhouettes of diners,
profiles behind drawn shades, a beacon
on each table, a tableau of elegance dreamed
in our pretend, pre-teen world. And sometimes,
at the very end, a uniformed man stood holding
the railing of the caboose, raising his hand
in one swift wave or salute, as we cheered
this promise of leaving, peered down the track
until there was nothing left but a light so small,
it could have been just another firefly after all.

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About the Author

Linda Neal Reising is a native of Oklahoma and citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Her books include: Re-Writing Family History (Finishing Line), The Keeping (Finishing Line), Stone Roses (Kelsay Books), and VIVIA-The Legend of Vivia Thomas: A Novelette in Poems (Kelsay Books), and Perpetual Astonishment (Beyond Words Press). Forthcoming are Navigation (Kelsay Books) and Cigar Box of Loss: Stories from Route 66 (Belle Point Press).

Linda Neal Reising
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