Ode to the Steam Switcher

I work alone-

Oily, tired and forgotten.

Luckily, some of the loads tonight are boxcars full of cotton.



I shove empty and loaded cars in the night.

My bell clangs wildly, to warn those who may be out of sight.

Shovels for Binghamton, elevator parts for Mr. Otis in Yonkers,

Aimed into the blackness, it is the darkness my headlight conquers.

I was once the pride of the Pennsylvania Railroad line

says Mr. Losee, my mechanic, from his porch.

Now I exist on borrowed time...

Waiting for the scrapper's torch.

– Tom Panettiere, March 2013