The Positivist

February 12, 2008
By Bradly Brackenbury, Independence, MO

Hands clasped, we walk along the train tracks
Our minds are sharp like shards of glass
You said my hand feels cold
So I move in a little closer.
You are looking at the nature all around us
At the trees, the leaves, the grass,
The butterflies and bluebirds
And the sky you said was blue.

I can't help but notice
The cracks in the crossties
The inconsistent sizes of the gravel on the tracks
All the dents in the metal or the rust on the sides
And it bugs me how
Some of the planks are oak, while others are elm.

You don't mind, as you smile at white lilacs
And cry at the sight of a small dead raccoon.
You laugh to yourself at the cool spring breeze
And you said, It's a beautiful day, isn't it?
To which I reply, No. It is not.
There is a screw loose on the railing.

We both know
There is a derailed train not far ahead of us.
You can smell the sulfur and see the smoke in the air
But I can see the gradual deterioration of the train tracks
As the gravel scatters, the crossties snap and the rails
bend in random whimsical chaos

You are crying. Your hand must be cold too?
No. It is not.

I said, If this plank were placed
slightly more to the left
And the larger rock could've been slightly
Smaller than the ones beside it
And perhaps if that dent on the rail were
Slightly less indented
Maybe this event could've been prevented.

In tears, you fall to your knees beside me
Clutching the ground
You tear apart your train tracks,
And dig yourself a grave
Beside your own miscalculations

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