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Railroad Ghosts

The roundhouse in Two Harbors was once abuzz with activity. The building has since fallen into disrepair. The landmark is being demolished but writer Dennis Herschbach and photographer Christian Dalbec have captured it in word and on film. Photo by Christian Dalbec

The roundhouse is there,

a no trespass sign posted

in front of the open doors

rotted to oil-spoiled ground.

Around back, a car shop

slumps next to three stories

of crumbling office brick,

windows punched out

by rocks and time and forget.

Sneak past the faded signs,

past do not enter painted on the wall.

in the dust filled haze imagine

engines belching coal-black clouds,

listen for steam whispering

from smooth sliding pistons.

Visualize workers in grimy coveralls,

try to hear welders curse their fiery toil,

look for flame throwing torches spraying

showers of sparks, cascading galaxies of stars

that die in smoke filled space.

Relive rumors of shutdowns,

the angst of conferences

behind closed doors,

whispers stalking the shops.

Feel the shriek of a whistle

screaming the shift is done,

and know the pain of a pink slip

clipped to a last pay check.