The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday and Great Falls Beaver Signs

Oarlock, Oar (Y, W, V, U, F)
By Katrina Vandenberg

still I hail from smokestacks girders closed
factories McLouth Steel’s poured slag turning the night
sky and black river orange the tight typeface of houses
in River Rouge Wyandotte the steel and auto tribes
tribe of the alphabet job shops the fathers who set
cutting tools on screw machines to make in multiples
in sixes packets of ear plugs the men made deaf shift
changes at three the line must never stop nothing could
not mothers who taught us the alphabet shapes
of oxen boats houses camels letters row on row
to prop us up row the ideas forward the spear
the snake the needle tooth Y W V U and F
all hailing from the same tribe the same hieroglyph father
oar or oarlock depending the alphabet not unlike
the world we lived in once we lived there the letters
trundled forth on their tracks boxcars shaking full
of gleaming two-doors leather seats body by Fisher
and yes I hail from unbeautiful artifice things
that made us late (barred tracks flashed lights opened
bridges) a tribe of shipbuilders iron ore taconite men
whose hands would not wash clean the machinery
and the machinery of the river the made thing
more important than we were the things themselves
not the idea of them I thought the letters books
a different place the books were not the way
out but in the letters embodying mirroring making what is
the oarlock what the oar still I hail from the Grosse Ile crew
team pulling on the river before school matching letter
jackets forgotten on the dock the catch release their blades


I had a bunch of work to get done in the morning, which it's fortunate that I actually got done because my father came to take Daniel out to lunch and invited me to come along (perhaps because Daniel was barely awake). We went to the Original Pancake House, where I had continental crepes with orange liqueur and we discussed the elusiveness of world peace and the difficulties of finding summer internships. Then Daniel and I came home, where I had laundry to fold, so -- since he had never seen the movie and that's excuse enough -- I put on Real Steel, which, I'm afraid, has not yet gotten old -- when is that sequel getting made?

Paul came home while I was finishing up my jewelry-embellishing project from my snow day -- which in this case involved affixing orange and black swarovski crystals to a Baltimore Orioles charm bracelet -- and made Indian food for dinner. Adam was busy writing a monologue in blank verse for English class, but the rest of us watched Marvel's big commercial for itself, Assembling a Universe, which was fun and had Tom Hiddleston and other lovely guests, yet has not convinced me that Agents of SHIELD is contributing anything crucial. Here are some photos of evidence of beavers on Olmsted Island in the middle of Great Falls:


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