Flames soar a thousand feet in the air. The shock of
throbbing twisted metal and the acrid smell of it burning.
A woman screams her husband's name. Flames a thousand
feet in the air.
Oil runs down the small embankment from and through the
contorted tracks. It is hard to believe that so much could
ride on the two rails now aflame together and alone. The
train: seventeen of the fifty cars lie toppled, their
rusted wheels still spinning. Fire jumps from half of
them and it spreads backwards down the entire row of cars,
some still teetering as if in attempt to stay on the rails,
now backing and falling from the earth, like roots from
a nearby tree or weeds from a garden. They pull out and
fall back and forth, this way and that, and soon they
are all on fire.
Flames climb a thousand feet in the air. Men yell about
brakes and interference. The sound of metal becoming liquid.
The noise a truck makes when it hits gravel from pavement
by surprise and then the sound of a thousand car accidents.
Flames a thousand feet in the air.
The oil and wheat become a paste on the country side
and though it is a slow moving river that runs from the
ninth of the first seventeen cars, it is a river on fire.
It feeds the light brush and deep thicket that leads to
the deep forest of Canadian trees now set to burn, growing
as a sprinter warms up: in small bursts of controlled
It is a now a forest fire shooting flames in movements
with no rhythm but a growing momentum, like a beating;
the clouds not obscured look like they are racing from
the flames, orange chasing white in the sky. Flames a
thousand feet in the air.