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It's lonely out here beside these corroding iron rails. The locomotives, whose choking smoke once cancered my exterior, have retired to some distant, far off place. Years ago, children fatally wounded some of my friends with stones, and hunters murdered the others with projectiles fired from a weapon called a gun. Now I am the only one that remains unscathed amidst the shattered skirts and fragmented crowns atop this deteriorating framework of teak and locust. During the fierce winters, bitter northeasterlies blow in earnest trying to wrench free what remains above the cold and snow driven ground. Often the frigid gales threaten to crackle my now brittle interior, and the torrid summer sun tries in vain to return me to the molten earth that my maker formed me out of. Although this punishment of desolation surrounds me on this lifeless pole, I know those who made me are still out there, for I can occasionally hear them signaling through this taut copper burden, which I have carried faithfully since the turn of the century.
One day a stranger will walk these abandoned tracks, and he will see me stranded here in this place of solitude. His visit will be different, for when he leaves, I'll leave too. Just now I can feel his hands tenderly caressing me in the sun, and with the gleam of my nearly blackened silhouette of cobalt in his eye, I know that the place I will depart to will be a much better place, and I will know that I finally found a friend.
Reprinted with permission from "Insulators - Crown Jewels of the Wire", April - May 1985, page 31.
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Last updated Sunday, December 10, 1995