Author: Susana Roberts

The light, the river, the ice on it in sheets.
The failing light, the setting sun.  The moment
Of no return.  The streetlight changing.  The cars
Moving slowly.  The drag of the river. The green river.
Past the old granite sheds.  Past.
This is the prayer I try to tell.
There is no god to listen to me; I, the daughter, I the vice.
No one has use for the river in winter when ice floes crash
The banks, the water a turgid presence like hunger or wound.
This is the moment I cannot turn back from.  My mother,
The traffic, the river, the cars.  I am captured by the present
Forever bound to the moment by the river, the unending
Green river.  A river without sound, without music.

The descent, the fall, the pit,
the fading sky. The wind, the stink,
the fetid water.  The hum, the clang,
the fierce resistance to jackhammer and pick.
The pressure against the arms, the power
of opposition.  The ache, the sweat,
the swelter, the fade.  The shimmer,
the heat, the sun, the thirst.  The cold
cold stone.  The weariness, the need.
The anger, the rage, the insistence
of flesh.  The giving, the release, the
crack, the falling, the stone unleashed.
The relief, the rest, the water, the ache.
The crane, the steel, the mesh gurney,
the rising.  The mates, the laughter,
the convoy, the lights.  The slope
to the valley, the pub, the silence.
The cold, cold stone.  The ache, the ache.