Literary Orphans

Long Gone And Never Coming Back by Michael Gillan Maxwell

we roll on ~ twisting, winding, rumbling

through steep wooded hillsides

blanketed by two feet of freshly fallen snow


glimpses of the countryside through rain spattered windows

grainy images from a silent movie

slender trees reflected off the surface

of a rock riddled stream


except for the bongo rhythm of steel wheels

on clackety tracks, it’s mostly quiet

travelers in their own orbits

like distant planets in the cosmic dust of space


ears plugged

eyes gazing at illuminated screens

thumbs diddling text messages


a soldier in fatigues, just back from deployment

tattoos on his knuckles, his face a mask

of sorrows and regrets


a cell phone rings

the woman in the seat behind me

screaming hysterically in Spanish


the conductor makes a garbled announcement

two priests in the row in front of me

take their bags and move up the aisle

getting off at the next stop


on the outskirts of an old industrial town as night falls

we trundle past scrapyards and smokestacks

piles of red brick lie half submerged in the bend of the river

a slag heap in a field near an abandoned smelting furnace


muddy vacant lots, broken glass and beer cans in puddles

derelict factory buildings and tumbledown warehouses

rusty, crumbling, desolate

long gone and never coming back

O Typekey Divider

Michael Gillan Maxwell is a writer and visual artist in the Finger Lakes Region of New York state. Maxwell writes short fiction, poetry, songs, essays, recipes and irate letters to his legislators. His work has been featured in a number of journals and anthologies and he serves as associate flash fiction editor for jmww quarterly journal. A teller of tales and singer of songs, he’s prone to random outbursts, may spontaneously combust or break into song at any moment and might be occasionally found ranting and raving on his website:
Your Own Backyard

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O Typekey Divider

–Art by Charles Simms

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