Margaret Cezair-Thompson

The Pirate's Daughter
(book excerpt, mp3) 6:25

Marilyn Sides

Dog Days of February
(short story, mp3) 8:42

Dan Chiasson

Man and Derailment
(poem, mp3) 0:36

When the man took his son down the ravine
to view, along the opposite bank,
the pileup of a passenger train,
backhoes and cranes, things the child had seen
only in miniature, now huge, hauling
life-sized train cars out of the deep ravine,
inside his life-sized head the quiet boy
wondered how he would remember the scene
and, once he knew his father better, later,
and later, knew himself better, what it would mean.

(poem, mp3) 1:30

You there, in the middle of your mind,
curled up into a ball but wide awake—
I am awake like you, in the same bed

hearing the train that when it passes
means it’s almost morning, though the sky
is dark, though the highway is quiet.

You can follow the train in your mind,
but your mind cannot follow the train
from little town to little town to Boston

where in the dark the transactions happen--
something is poured, something is filled,
something is dropped off, something is taken—

happen among the loud men at the wharf
before their very first sign of dawn,
and the train in Boston turns around.

I wish our minds were like the train,
passing once a night through the woods,
fading out among the lights and termini,

its load of oil or metal going some place
they want it, returning in the morning,
its mile-long belly not empty, not hungry;

not the wharf, accepting train after train
of junk from the provinces all night,
a throat that tries to swallow dirt.