What It Means To Turn Away And Eventually Forget There Was That Other Place You Loved

early NYC film footage, 1902 and ‘03

Early skyscraper excavation.
A supply-packed wagon lifts
up to workers balancing on
steel beams with no security
belts, harnesses, just sky.

The changing skyline of New York City.
A bird or two lofts over
a river, boats, barges, all
flickering dreams created
from the uneven speed
cameramen used to crank
film through the camera.

The final film clip.
A canvas gondola packed
with construction workers
swings just a little as it
lifts them up to their jobs
on a towering steel skeleton.
They joyously wave their
hats, their hands. A worker,
legs twisted about the cable
hoisting the gondola, pulls
his angular frame up above
the rest, leans over to admire
that view, then slides back
down to his friends.

Their faces, even in
muddy black & white,
glow with eagerness as
the century’s turning opens
their endless chances,
a Russian matryoshka doll
in a child’s hands.

These undaunted workers,
many suddenly here, start
each day in a new country,
the old country a dark dream
grown fainter each morning
they rise up into the sky
while the steel beneath
their feet has no second
chance for them should
they reach out too far.

From their canvas cradle
they happily wave us
into this modern age.

Marianna Hofer has Studio 13 in the gloriously haunted Jones Building in Findlay, OH. Her poems and stories appear in small magazines, and her black and white photographs hang in local exhibitions and eateries. Her first book, A Memento Sent by the World, was published by Word Press in 2008.