Estranged from the Sea

The river is a strong brown god.
             T.S. Eliot,
Four Quartets

Sullied Ohio
         winding river
roiled by last night’s storm,
muddied and defiant,
rainbowed with the slick from barges,
a dwindling traffic
          now that the mills are closed.

Still, there are the power plants,
fossil fueled and bursting at the seams,
a grid in perpetual overload.

This river is hardly a god,
not even a candidate
           for sainthood, more like
a fallen angel, this keeper of secrets.
Stolen cars, bodies floating at the dam;
Pike Island would confound
           even Moriarty.

Savage in the time of Pterodactyls,
Still feral though confined, subdued but untamed,
you have made us the builders of bridges.

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