At night the freight train murmurs to the floor.
The floor is moved and shudders in its boards,
and we’re awake. I wish I had a better ear.
A nail chatters in its slot, taps up against the wood
it split once, years and years ago. Its beat
might teach us of a nail’s life: a single thrust,
baptismal, then the holding fast, the holding things
one to the other. This is a life that knows
with clarity its purpose—for a time. The ties
do loosen, though; and so the fretful nights
when train seduces floor, disordering the peace.
I wish I had a better ear. For all this fuss
the train sticks to its route: it perseveres,
moving and moving on and leaving things
a little more dislodged. And we’re awake.