Cat on the Tracks

by Mark Pajak

He wore the night in his fur, sat on a rung
between the rails, tail wisping like smoke

as a distant train split the air along its seam.
Its coming headlight laid down track

and placed an opal into each black seed
of the cat’s eyes, every blink slow as an eclipse.

Soon the white light pinned him, the only drop
of night left as vibration turned the rails to mercury.

But there was no give in the cat, no flex anywhere
but his tail. And for a moment their roles reversed,

as though it were the train facing the inevitable cat,
the end of the line. The world lit up like a page

and the train a sentence before the full-stop.