Sunrise on the Ohio River

by Jim McGarrah

November 23, 2009
     for Jack Myers, teacher and friend

In front of me silt and driftwood
clip along driven by the current past buoys
listing in the breeze.  Jets grumble overhead.

Veteran’s Bridge flexes its girders,
a muscular moaning with the weight of life
as cars and trucks inch their drivers toward work.

Death rises from the water as a mourning fog,
shaping shadows of a city along the water’s edge.
Huge husks of empty brick and glass begin

to penetrate the gloom and above it
enter a blue womb of sky.  Topaz crowned mallards
rock across waves, davening as if this river

were a temple.  Belle of Louisville, revenant of a more
poetic time, steams around the cutbank and disappears,
her captain left as memory in the wake of history.