Nearly Blind Rust Belt Blues

No one warned me that the smokestacks,
skyscraper guts, and starless nights
could turn my gaze so steely.
Carp leapt from green water
to smack the flanks of coal barges
hauling the corpses of ancient ones
who never asked to be cremated.
The river carried iron and irony
to the gulf. Never before had water
been forced to participate so completely
in fueling an inferno.
It happened as slow as oxidation
until I was as rigid as a machine.
My vision frozen on things
no one was meant to see.
A great blue heron wrenched my gears.
With a flash of feathers,
she swung low,
dumped sugar into my gas tank,
and led me back to the river’s
curls and curves.
I stood haunted by
all I now could see.
If it had lasted any longer
I might have had to wirebrush
the rust from my own eyes.

By Will Falk

Will Falk is a biophilic writer, currently writing about the Ohio River. Support his work here:

Image: Oil Spill, by me