Mike Finley

Rookie (July 4,1950 / Flint, Michigan)

The Cresting Minneapolis - Poem by Mike Finley

The sand at Hidden Falls is frozen
but it softens when you sit
because here pumps the first barge of spring
coming round the bend.
At least as far as you know
it's no Mark Twain's Delta Queen
cascading up the waterway
the night Old Dixie laid it down
but it is pleasant to watch the barges
shudder and smack the next ripple
pushed on by an engine a fiftieth their size
and out of sight around the willow sandbar

But as the barges come into view
they are not coming up empty for gravel or grain
but are laden down with construction gear,
steel black I-bars, the span of the new bridge
they are building by the falls, the one that fell down
and sent the cars tumbling last August.
It's a smart idea as these bars are huge,
they can't be shuttled about on city streets,
no helicopter can sustain them,
and on the next cold barge are compressors
and a crewhouse and gigantic black tires,
maybe to buffer the boats from the pylons
and an entire steel staircase in one welded piece
you could just dropp into place and start climbing
exceot it is on its side now, so the stairs
go neither up nor down
and would be very awkward to navigate.

And it all chugs by, the most remarkable thing,
a bridge coming upriver to take its place,
until it falls too, all bridges fall,
thermodynamics being what they are,
and that tiny little tug behind now coming into view,
a fiftieth the size of the barges it's pushing
is a riverboat, a tug, with whistles whooshing,
pushing against current for all it's worth,
and on its prow the proud name Minneapolis.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Poem Edited: Friday, October 17, 2008


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