On the journey from Falun, farmstead roofs
pulled down the snow, their shoulders
tucking white sheets
around ledges and barn doors.

The train hissed along the forest edge.
Daily sleet slopped in headlines against the glass,
became a television from the 60s
lined with interference, sky, snow, tree,
sky, snow, tree, and the houses—yellow or red—
whooped a morse code of comfort. Once, the forest
called out to the train, stop, for heaven’s sake, stop!
but the crystal weighted spruces were swallowed
by horizontal lines, the day’s deepening hurry.
And it would not stop.

The forest’s sharp nose was sniffing our warmth,
old bones at the edge of a clearing clicked
with the need for flesh, our blood,
a fire for the coming night.
The train pushed on, and the trees larruped
windy meltings as the carriage sheared south.

On overhead racks, wrapped gifts
of Swedish glass seemed glib,
artifacts in ice, small candles,
and berried woollen hats and gloves
for those who waited,
at home in the dark.