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Report on the State of

Assignment 2B Section: F Railraod

by Michelle Droeske

     This report is to state our progress on the development of the railroad that will run from Dakota South to Dakota North. We have found a suitable path to lay down the tracks. We have dug the ruts for the tracks, built and assembled the iron, and have laid down the tracks. All eighteen cars, including cargo, have been designed and put together. All furniture, chairs, beds, paint, and materials for the inside have been chosen and manufactured. An excellent whistle for the first car has been selected and installed. It is not an annoying one. Warning signal lights and signs have been planted in the appropriate locations along the route. Departure tickets will be orange, and return tickets will be green. One-ways will be yellow. The crew was hired just a few days ago along with several engineers who come highly recommended. We have found a very good conductor named Tom who winks when he gets nervous. He seems nice. All axels, wheels, and other mechanical parts are being constructed as we speak and will be assembled into the cars in about two and a half days. Three if the men continue taking hour and ten minute lunch breaks. In conclusion, progress is on time and the train should be up and running in six months.

Second Report on the State of

Assignment 2B Section: F Railraod

     This report is to state our progress on the development of the railroad that will run from Dakota South to Dakota North. The men have not only continued taking hour and ten minute lunch breaks, but stretched the breaks out to three hours and eventually stopped coming to work. The axels, wheels, and other mechanical parts broke, so we had to start re-manufacturing them. The conductor, Tom, had an anxiety attack several weeks ago and has been in the hospital ever since. We haven’t heard from him. Those who recommended the engineers apparently confused the individuals and recently called to advise against using them. Our printer has been malfunctioning and we need to get it repaired before we can print any tickets. The places where we were going to plant warning lights and signs are now occupied with hitchhikers, so we have to find new locations. We have listened to the whistle designed for the first car so many times that it annoys us now, and we must select a different one. The materials we had decided on were found to be toxic and highly dangerous; therefore it will be awhile before our team recovers from the poisonous exposure and can search for safer ingredients. It was really hot one day and we had left the cars out in the sun, but they melted. We have to build all eighteen all over again. Prairie dogs have settled nicely into their homes on our tracks, so we have to scout a different stretch of land to build more tracks on. Finally, Dakota South and Dakota North aren’t even sure anymore if they want a train, so we are waiting to hear back from them. In conclusion, we will need more staples

Author's Note

It is the control factor that dominates writing. We insist that something will be created, and then we can take it away. We never know who has the control; at times it changes hands; this is not always important. Maybe when we create, we have to destroy. We have already disrupted the page—why not take it further? We can alter it again anyway. There is also the promise that the reader will be requested to follow. The writer, too. It’s a puzzle that should be attempted; its existence doesn’t leave us a choice.


Then there is everything we have to deal with—part and whole, what will happen next. One item affects all. Even if left alone, it occupies space. How can its existence be doubted? How can its destruction be doubted? Do we need to doubt it? One could say the train survived, but as something other than its original function. This could be fine—we must acknowledge the occurrence either way. Acknowledgement is necessary. We can obsess over attentiveness. And so the writing survives.

Michelle Droeske's poems have appeared in the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Jabberwocky, and she has an essay in an edition of the university's student writing anthology.

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