We deflate faster
than our punctured tire—
arms flailing, signaling to pull over;
jaws flapping, “fuck, fuck, fuck,”
to the rhythm of the wheel’s dirge—
this “city” has no tunnels
that we can see, only two
sets of railroad tracks, twin
skeletons for the Canadian-Pacific
to play a little ditty on,
not quite ringing true.

Maybe somewhere down the line,
there is a tunnel,
an archway beckoning
bored teenagers to come
smoke a bowl or
drain a twelve-pack or
scrawl their names in
cheap spray-paint—
the cans becoming
the railroads’ marrow;
the weed ashes now
the railroads’ ashes;
the graffiti as tattoos—
all collective memories
fading, blurring, mixing together
under the clatter of railway cars
into a lilting history of
what it means to be
a teenager in Tunnel City,

—Clint Jensen, Tomah, WI