River Findings

The Ohio winds around hills

and streams down the hollows,

passes steel mills, brick yards

and scrap yards. It carries tug boats,

pushes barges, and hauls black coal

stripped from the mountainsides.

 

The Ohio’s littered banks

are home to train yards

filled with graffiti-covered

box cars, rusting relics

of the Southern Pacific

and the Norfolk and Southern railroads.

 

Erector set bridges

span the murky river

and link Ohio

to “Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia,”

the Weirton Mill,

and Homer Laughlin China Company.

 

In towns called Powhattan Point,

Shadyside, Bellaire,

and East Liverpool,

houses are stacked on hillsides

with an array of slate, tin

and asbestos shingled roofs.

 

Ball fields and corn fields,

concrete parking lots

and shopping malls

are full of busy people

who fail to appreciate

the river’s charity.

 

There are roads with cryptic names

like Goose Run, Pinch Run,

Riddles Run, and Rush Run.

There are towns named Brilliant,

Costonia and Calcutta, each

with their own secrets.

 

North on Route 7

bars advertise Karaoke

and all you can eat fish fries.

A plethora of car lots and gift shops,

bait stores and gun supplies

dot the countryside with

 

a never-ending display

of marketing profanity,

but the river rolls on

never compromising

her dignity,

never surrendering her boundaries.

 

White-steepled churches

stand like beacons of redemption,

while billboards promote

“Hellfire Fireworks,”

“Gentlemen’s” clubs, sleazy motels

and the “Forbidden Zone Exit.”

 

Still the river moves along,

proud and powerful,

chanting and rippling

with satisfaction,

a stalwart testament

to her tenacity…

 

Susan Maree Jeavons

This poem is about: 
Our world

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