Voted best poem by readers of issue two:

Emma Jane Arkady

At Watford flight: On the bridge over Lock One

Seven weeks after the absolute
I catch you framing a scene
colour-print summer
to insert in your album.

It was all that you ever saw; a warm day, purring
when the Perkins diesel ran smooth
calm on the summit line, chugged in the low sun,
slow under a hump back with its number, set
in the brick as key over the rippled Grand Junction;
Bulrush proudly unscattered,
the true point missed

that rain fell into their lives as payment
for south hauled bales of hemp
damp stank in the boat, a narrow
crawling dam, a wooden cot
in the rotten bow cabin,
set in the weeded stench,
a caught and sneezing gag
of rotten cats, dead in the throat
a disease you ignored brown-wet reeds
in the history book
a text, you do not see in this back-lit
Sunday afternoon with a cool ice

go on, reminisce
snap it in Kodak and pretend.

© Emma Jane Arkady, 2000

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