Alphabet City

I am a witness to that late morning,
you on the other side of the creek bank,
in black and white.

How old are you there, maybe 10?
What a perfect age to be,
the first of double-digit

Rough gabardine trousers
and cable-knit cardigan,
so dapper really,
atop the crushed rock,
that the old man bagged
for a penny a load.

I prop the photo
up in front
a bare bulb
and cup my hands
to the sides of my eyes,
to blinder my view
from ambient distraction.

The sun-hot white
light, 200 watts,
excites the photons
captured there
from that day
on the silver of the film,
swells the sounds and smells,
squeezes barge horns,
hair tonic, damp wool,
chalk and limestone,
heavy leather shoes slipping on rock,
children yelling in play,
in quick scurry over quarry,
racing to be king at the top.

You turn to me

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