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Night blind through Rogers Pass,

engine popping like a rabbit gun

after an ambush of tunnels,

I brake for tinfoil, bottles,

dead stares of twisted deer.

This moon-shot boneyard

is a seam of eyes.

Immigrant rail crews lost

to the slides of March

a century ago. Two Japanese dug out

clasped in each other's arms,

a Norwegian frozen in the act

of filling his pipe. No time

even to bruise.

Hidamo. Wafilsewki. Mitsumi. Sodiatis. Sanquist.

Bronze and marble statues

for the meat ride to Glacier Station.

And the whores who died cold,

full of holes, in clapboard Columbia

or the pockmarked skin village

of Golden. A drunken doctor drowned

in a puddle of horse piss.

Years later, slide shooters

and dozers shoved 92 miles of highway

through the Selkirks' seismic muscle,

and now my four seizing cylinders

whine for a tail wind

to Saskatchewan. I Go All The Way,

Number One croons

over archival mutterings caught

in the black throat of the old Connaught Tunnel

buried at the Summit. Accordian ballads

of accidents that wait to happen

in the rock face, snow

fall, concentrated gravity of the gorge.

My odometer books odds of sleep

in hands and head. The cat knows it,

moving through luggage in the back seat,

throwing sparks.

In Passing

Karen Solie

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