One of the loneliest sounds
in the universe may be
the train’s whistle blowing in dark
of mid-winter with low clouds moving
overhead obscuring the sliver of cold
crescent moon peeking through overcast
like a roving eye blinking beneath
the blanket of darkening sky.
The train’s whistle approaches closer
till its soulful call reaches highest pitch
then slowly recedes into the distance.
The train moves away
moves away and leaves me
standing there in darkness
leaves me there in the obscurity
of total alone and listening
to its defining departure
from my station where I stand
enwrapped in awe enveloped by night.
Then, there’s the sound of a thunderstorm
approaching from the distance
getting closer till it’s right there
upon me yet beyond.
Each burst of thunder penetrates
deep into the heart of mind
preceded by bright flash of lightning’s
ephemeral staircase ascending to heaven
spreading wild across the sky
leaving me in wakeful anticipation
listening to distant thunder recede
while the rain beats its path against rooftops
and windows gazing out to the imponderable night.
Lightening silhouettes the limbs
of trees that appear to suddenly jump
forward then leap back again.
And the rooftop shingles glisten with
the fluid measure of the full-bellied storm
clouds advancing like sea waves
expending their wet passions upon
an ever-receptive earthen shore.
Yet, there’s still another lonesome sound
the sound of letting go those grains
of loosened sands of time set free
by too tight a hold upon my life.
Though I may trace the paths
of others who came before
I don’t forsake my own wearied bones
nor regret that all that remains
was not my preferred intention.
In this inevitable encounter
at the place of final confluence
where my river turns to estuary
then blends with ocean tides
I stand transfixed listening
for the long anticipated beckoning call
to finally arrive and carry me to unknown
depths beyond the obscure curvature of horizon
away from this fixed time and place
far from where all words falter
recede into distance
Alfredo Quarto is an environmental activist and poet living on an organic farm in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains in Washington. He’s been published in numerous poetry publications including: Poetry Seattle, Catalyst, Raindance Journal, Piedmont Review, Haiku Zashi Zo, Paperbag Poems, Seattle Arts, Spindrift, Arts Focus, Arnazella, Dan River Anthology, Amelia, Americas Review, Vox, Middle House Review, The Closed Eye Open, Elevation Review, Montana Mouthful, and Tidepools.