Kayleb Rae Candrilli

Crescent Line #20 and the Blood Moon Is Still On Us

When she runs the tracks we feel her grind deep in our abdomens, stomachs drop and the Amtrak sways as though being led by a man who leads—tango, waltz, mamba, tilt. I fear derailment the same way I pray for it. 1999 Ford pickup crumpled, pushed four city blocks along the tracks. Neighbors pouring out of the tree line, grey beards, walking staffs, flip phones out and dialing, teenage boys, hair bowl cut, young legs sprinting. First responders lazy because death is so absolute. The crew donates sleeper car sheets to her death, flutters loose thread count around her—hiding her. Nobody removes her from the wreck because she is the wreck. And we, on the Crescent 20, describe the crash to one another so many times, it becomes our world before it has merely dented it. I am on my way to a cemetery as my body becomes one. And in New York, my partner is busy ticking off family deaths on their fingers, hanging on their wall a swelling collage of prayer cards. At night, we smell only death because we had to grow up sometime. Bed sheets to them: late grandparents and an uncle. To me: rusted metal, blood wrapping around the head of a train, and I want to blame all sadness on the moon—it’s red meat dangling above us. This is our last mobile; it spins us into sleep.


Kayleb Rae Candrilli is author of What Runs Over with YesYes Books. They serve as an assistant poetry editor for BOAAT Press and they hold an MFA and an MLIS from the University of Alabama. Candrilli lives in Philadelphia with their partner. You can read more of their work here.