Parting the bushes, you glimpse
an abandoned blast furnace groping
the sky like the blinded Cyclops.
You’ve come so far to see the rust
and ruin of the life you avoided.
Hot metal and the reek of acid,
hopper cars groaning with coke.
You longed for the hiss and rhythm
of steam locomotives plodding
from the port of Erie with ore,
but grew up too late to labor
with hands that now hang useless
before this naked revelation.
Places age more quickly than people,
but leave more rubble to sift.
Framed in elegant foliage,
the industrial excess cloys.
You want to beat down this wreckage
with bare fists, but grimmer forces
plot an erasure more absolute
than you with camera and notebook
could ever hope to impose.
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A Black River, A Dark Fall.