“Double Downriver” By Scott Silsbe



Double Downriver

I grew up on a dead end in the shadow of a trash dump.
It was not exempt from its own kind of magic though.

The dead end of the street gave way to an open field,
which led to a stand of trees bordering a skinny creek.
Bikes had forged a dirt path from the street to the creek
and there was an old cement culvert and old rope-swing
back among the trees a ways if you knew where to look. 

On most Friday nights, we could all hear this great roar 
of many car engines revving up down at the dragway, 
even though it was a good two miles away from us.

When it would thunderstorm in the middle of the night,
we would wake up in the morning with booming heads,
lightning in our eyes, and all of the streets wiped clean.
The gulls squawking over the bulldozers on the dump.


About the Author: Scott Silsbe was born in Detroit. He now lives in Pittsburgh. His poems have been collected in three books—Unattended FireThe River Underneath the City, and Muskrat Friday Dinner. He is also an assistant editor at Low Ghost Press.


Image Credit: Arthur Rothstein “Untitled photo, possibly related to: Children at city dump, Ambridge, Pennsylvania” (1938) from The Library of Congress

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