Local Legend
 
There is no hill
in Chapel Hill-
just a railway crossing
and two lights.
Actually three
if you count
the light that comes
some starless nights
from nowhere
down the abandoned tracks.
It stands and flickers,
seeking recognition.
State Troopers claim
it's only a reflection
from the interstate
and coordinate
midnight experiments
to prove their case.
But the locals stick 
by their own story: 
about an Irish brakeman
and a bellyful of whiskey . . . .
who, in his Irish fashion,
refuses to accept 
the simple fact
that he is dead
and with kerosene lantern
stumbles blind over crossties
searching
for his lost head.
The light stands,
flickers
then disappears . . .
Everyone knows all locals lie,
and that troopers always 
tell the truth.
But I'd sooner have the story
if I had to choose-
having always preferred
the truth that cannot be
to a truth that
can be proved.  
 

 

 

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