You can hear its whistle 
as the train pulls through 
the valley below—
cars of coal for Labadie. 
The train moves along 
the foot of the bluffs, past 
Spirit Airport, the Missouri 
to its north, hauls its cargo 
to the electric plant.

Once it was The Flats,
fields of corn and beans,
beaver, heron, fox, deer,
marshes, tangled stands of trees,
peace and natural beauty.
Once there was a café where 
men in overalls 
met for breakfast.

Now it is The Valley,
miles of floodlit, neon-trimmed,
industrial, retail, suburban, 
malls, restaurants, offices, hotels.
Corporate jets moan on concrete runways.
Artificial hills and sand traps stand
where beaver once built dens.

The whistle echoes from the bluffs
as the coal train to Labadie passes by.
The sound of the past runs
through the scenery of the future.

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