There is no hogging the secret stations in the night – Capreol, Sioux Lookout, Lucky
Seven. Engineer’s huts, sidings, halfhour station-stops where passengers totter to smoke
and shiver and scuff the dull rails. Sidetracked for freight, our sickish slowing in the dark.
We sleep with necks apparently broken across headrests and armrests, however we
manage to pile our bones. Anyone who wakes wakes a wave of blurred anenomes, that sit
up and see with closed eyes. Nancy’s feet are sweetbreads in thick white socks that crowd
my seat. Who goes under first? I can hear her breathing breaking. She chuckles, and chokes
on chuckle in her sleep, the sheet of air between carriage and freightcars thumping like a
wobbleboard. I sleep. I wake. I sleep. I wake. Nancy comes in cold and stale from the
Miramichi fag break.
unpublished poem, © Jen Hadfield 2009, used by permission of the author.