July landscape, mid-Virginia

train whistles its late-afternoon
warning over the banks, shooing
herons from their nests, dockworkers
from their reveries; downstream
an earthbound descendant of
graffitied cement and rusty idealism
derives the ebb of the river’s summered
bottom with circles formulated
around the circumference
of heaven and lines drawn
up by hell’s indifference:
equations like battlescars written
not in flesh and blood but in
currents and railroad tracks and cut
deep in post-modern