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Poetry: Near The Niagara Scow

near the niagara scow

When you asked me what was wrong,
I said it was the wind.

It was the wind that welled my eyes
and filled them to brimming.
Stopped there at the precipice
before spilling
like a tourist photograph
of that great cataract
which separates two forgotten cities with the same name.

What I should have said
or thought I said
or what I wrongly assumed you should have heard
is that
it was the wind, with its fragrance of lilac and rose,
with its sound
of the snapping of snow-white sheets on a clothesline
that reminded me of that moment in my childhood
when you took me to see the falls.

That forgotten me with the same name.
You were a sunshine of smile and you lifted me up
to let me stand on the railing for a better view.
Your younger hands holding me tight as I stood
on that railing set in place by Polish laborers gone.
I looked intently at the rush of water with its wind
and spray. You held me tight
around my chest which rose and fell
with the wonder of it all.

It was the wind, carrying with it the bent sunlight
of faded Kodak family photographs.
My brothers and my sister
dressed up tight
against another winter.
the knitted mittens
and knotted scarves.

When you asked me what was wrong,
you were having one of your better days,
I used my sleeve to stop the deluge
and said it was the wind.

—david gianadda

how to get your poetry in artvoice!

In the Margins occasionally features poetry by local writers. The poetry editor is Florine Melnyk. Submissions of no more than five poems and no more than 10 pages in length can be sent by e-mail to or by mail to Florine Melnyk, Poetry Editor, Artvoice, 810 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14202 Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope to have manuscripts returned.

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