Barbara Ann Redline, 1929-1999
Born the last Samuels, Gramma married and went blind.
In her new name, “Redline,”
she bore six daughters and two sons: one drunk without
issue, one gassed in the war.
An engine frozen to two lines of steel, fallow as the field
weeding up all around it. I said blood.
I said yearning. I spoke of the foundry’s dark heart
glowing red, of brick burned
from within and ash spiraled from smokestacks, dark ache
traced on blank blue.
Of grass lifting ties between tracks. Of slow glow of rust.
I said Redline. I said men
lost in the mine, terminal, end of the line. We are carnage
cleared by the cowcatcher,
we are clay scored by time’s plow. You say, but what
of the grapevine clotted with fruit,
the fruit pressed into wine, and the bend in the light
where the light bends down? You say
a grandson was born. But I say the daughters are gone,
and I say blood. I say my mother.
I say yearning furrows my heart in long, straight lines.