You never see the machines,
only smoke, red brick chimney,
Stockport viaduct, a stadium.
Not strict landscape—no landscape
precisely this in Lancashire
but Lowry and Dad agree to it.
The shape fits a winnowing,
sallow pedestrians gather for a portrait
then forget. Whose hat is this?
Whose pipe? Is he a soldier?
Dad squints at the white/grey sky.
A horsecart trundles away, familiar.
Has the crowd thinned? Doddered off?
He falls asleep into this knowing
which is more poetry than fact
now that facts are ricochet.
The elisions fuse shut, a scumble sets
new streetscapes, make him safe.
“Dad, describe it to me.”
Robert Colman is a Newmarket, Ontario-based writer and editor. His third full length poetry collection, Democratically Applied Machine, is forthcoming from Palimpsest Press (Spring 2020).