blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Postcard of the Dam the Mill Stood By

Of course the mill's gone & now
the paper reports the dam may go too—
there've been engineer reports, conservationists,
budgets drawn. In the photo
a man in a fedora stands in front
looking at the white splash of river in
sunlight & its own wrestling. Behind him:
mill smoke. Some days driving at dusk
I see the factory stacks of Weyerhauser filling
the sky, light grey vapor against darkening grey,
& I can't believe I live in this town,
can't believe I've stood by that dam &
watched the river writhe
like a soul untangling from a body.
Right there, the water's never still
even in these days of droughts & curses.
They've built a bar where the mill once stood
& the people there talk about the river
& talk about the trees
& get quiet when the right song comes on the juke box,
ground their cigarettes out in gold ashtrays
& laugh louder than expected
as if suddenly recalling a deep and hidden sadness.  

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