Family Portrait

3174d8cff970162fd9623711628b0f31

Submitted by Ronald E. Shields

Strange
This hatred of factories.
I have never been in one.
Thirty years my father labored in a factory making film.
There is no evidence he ever took a picture.
There is a family portrait
taken by a neighbor I suppose.
My father is looking away from the camera,
his gaze focused somewhere the camera cannot see,
none of us can see.
He could be watching birds fly south
or waiting for the ice to break.
It is ten years since the factory closed,
my father gone seven.
As I look at the portrait now I try to follow his gaze.
I can see the river running around the locks,
through the arches beneath the bridge,
past the dark bones of the factories,
out to a hungry sea.


Photo Credit: Old factory on the Somme – Frits Thaulow

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