See how they run

They walked on twisting rails

through bootblack


they smelled the silence,

the loneliness

steel rivets, each with initials

of a homeless person

– hammered deep into

railroad ties, they

held down

track, held down 

shadows of the fallen.


Hobos at the breast of poverty

destitution at their feet,

wrists held together by handcuffs

of the Great Depression,

and fate…

closed freight 

car doors like prison cell doors

in sacks,

carried empty tin photos 

of a tin family

– candles with no


Railroad bulls on leashes 

sniffing out musty clothing


unshaven faces

– creeping

under boxcars like neighbors

dogs under

porches looking

for stray cats.


Inside, hiding, tramps faces

with patterns of light,


of age

– much as cobwebs

where slants of sun trickle



Sunday morning (faith man


wet crosses on hobos foreheads)

that none tried to save

them more

– holy water dripped off 

rusted nails

into reluctant


POW’s to the shepherd, to the

rails, of vagrancy (waiting for

working papers in the next

town, in the next town)…

see how they run.


Copyright © 06/06/2014 Ð Ṝ Ƣ Ñeedle & Ŧhread®


4 comments on “See how they run

  1. Haunting……beautiful!

  2. The writer’s images are captivating and powerful…like the reader is right their on the scene!! The entire writing opens senses of smell, feelings, actions to entice and lure any reader in to capture the reality of this writing – I’d rate it as excellent!

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