Elkland, once a boom town of Watauga County,
where the railroad from Abingdon ended
to drop off passengers and load timber.
The giant engines spun on a turntable
to head back the other way.
Hotels, stores, banks, and taxi service
sprung up like mushrooms in a narrow valley,
shared by the South Fork of the New River.
Loggers and saw mills made their truck ready
to be hauled back the other way.
With the forests stripped of their hardwoods,
the Virginia-Carolina came less frequently
until, nothing to haul and no one to bring,
like locusts they swarmed to other prospects,
to make their living in other ways.
The railroad gone, the tracks were taken up,
its steel sold cheaply to the Japanese,
just like New York’s Sixth Avenue El,
scrap metal turned to weapons of warfare
used against our own Pacific Fleet
to send our boys to a watery grave.