I miss the monster snuffling through the wood
creating sonic waves with elephantine tread
while trumpeting its lost child wail
to others up ahead.

My father knew the way to tame the beast
He stood with upraised hand
or waved a lantern at its Cyclops eye
forced it to reach a screeching halt, to stand

as though a rodent ventured in its path.
Then fearlessly we both would climb its heaving side
and Jonah-like would travel, safe
within its metal hide.

In future time, the creature’s progeny
that slither past, silently
as snails on mucous tracks
will be recalled by some nostalgically;

but as for me I miss
the coal dust plume
the whine and hiss
the steamy spume

the gasping wrath
of that poor mastodon’s
asthmatic breath.

* Long Island Rail Road