poem by Joanne Diaz

Every guidebook claims
that the town name
is mere homonym,
but how else to explain
the smell of wet dog
in the lonely station,
the coast’s blood red trail,
the stones jutting
like teeth, the pause
on this frontier
where mobility
feels like a kind
of wildness—willful,
bewildered, astray.
This train at the break
of gauge is ancient—
shredded cables,
sides scoured by years
of crossings, gray graffiti
looping across each car
as if to signal the end
of all things. This place must
belong to Cerberus,

three-headed dog
of the underworld,

custodian of those souls
lost to vice, its neck

stripped of fur,
the endless barking.

Photo by Jason Reblando

Joanne Diaz is the author of two poetry collections, The Lessons and My Favorite Tyrants. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches literature and creative writing at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Joanne Diaz

Jason Reblando is a documentary photographer whose work is in the collections of the Library of Congress, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. His monograph, New Deal Utopias (Kehrer Verlag) was published in 2017. He teaches photography at Illinois State University. www.jasonreblando.com 

Jason Reblando

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