Flashing Lights in the Night

We never knew why the train
came to a stop and idled so long,
blocking our crossing
a few hundred metres west —
and the highway a mile south.
We never heard the frantic horn,
the bang. We never knew
what the train hit. Or who.
But now we do — and we still feel
the impact three days later.

Flashing red and blue lights.
“Accident on the train track,”
people whisper as they arrive for
an evening at church. “Pickup hit.”
Half a dozen first responders
missing from our service — serving,
directing traffic, setting up lights.
Dense fog rolls in to muffle,
yet amplify, red and blue flashes
flickering on our windows for hours.

A night of tears for someone’s parents
and his young fiancée, newly engaged,
grieving over hopelessly shattered pieces.
A toddler who can’t understand why
Daddy doesn’t come home. And whatever
does it mean: “Daddy’s gone?”
Puzzling words that will echo on and on
through so many tomorrows.

C.G.

I haven’t felt like posting for a few days; this verse will explain. The young man killed was an acquaintance; my husband knows the the young fiancée from his workplace and we’ve met the deceased at several staff Christmas parties. Such a pleasant young man, age 33 according to the news.

The north-bound train wasn’t going fast at all. Some have guessed that, since the pickup was heading west into the sunset, maybe the brilliance blinded the driver. But we can only speculate; the driver died in the crash. No doubt there’ll be a thorough investigation. Our hearts go out to the family.

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