Death of the Red Electric

Laughter spilling down the hill
from where the Red Electric stopped,
gauzy light playing on tanned legs

through thin cotton dresses on the
stone steps to Lake Grove Park
from deep in the blackberry thicket,

overhearing Uncle Hank tell about
playing games in the rumble seat
of somebody's Model A Ford on the

half-hour drive out from Portland,
though how, in such cramped quarters,
vexed my unsuspecting mind,

knowing now how this love affair
with macadam roads and rubber tires
drove the Red Electric to its end

on rusted tracks overgrown with
blackberry vines, and why Uncle Hank
chose a rumble seat before a bench,

catching the laughter of easy times
though I was on the outside looking in,
seeing the ghost of the Red Electric

rise when a harvest moon pulls its
pale gold cloak across Oswego Lake
and rockets blaze the tree-lined sky.