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Richard SchiffmanFebruary 17, 2022

A millrace where the waters churn
and plunge that turned a turbine once
which spun a shaft that drove
the great stone wheels around
that ground tobacco leaf to snuff.

The Bronx was still a woodland then
ribbed with rills of mica schist
and bouldered pasturelands,
a few rough farms bisected by this stream—
which jogs along nowadays beside its namesake highway.

A sudsy swill once, since restored
and clean enough for waterfowl to roost.
We came in every season, my dad’s old haunt,
a leafing world away from the handball courts
on the Grand Concourse.

Today I’m back again to watch the river
tripping whitely over stones.
The glen, just greening now, dogwoods
in bloom, the blushing rhododendron.
I am neither happy nor sad.

This river knows my name.
It knows my father’s name.
Everything flows and stays the same.
This is all I seem to know,
or need to.

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