By Melinda LePere 

We throttle under the Ambassador Bridge. Soon, swags of lights will dangle,
but down the river, past the warehouse with peeling Boblo signage—a little
farther—Zug Island begins to mass. From first distance old stacks
rise like spindles, one belching flame in the twilight—a singularity—
votive candle or cyclops’ blazing eye. Once colossal forge—stench
and fumes wrung from elemental heat and earthy ore, primal origin
for Rivera’s gods dwarfing workers on museum walls—now
industrial ghost. Writhing contortions, monster pipes and conduits,
hump and coil into hulking silhouettes coated in years
of sweat, oil, coke and coal. Skeletal, a crooked backbone of frail stairs
zigzags up a massive Wild Mouse ride—once a man clung at the pinnacle, sucking
black air. Here stand the guardians, the dogs, on another dock
just loading cranes, but here they persist, the river forever
pushing past—stalwart. In polluted glow, steam and smoke
shroud steel bone bodies. Diminished, collapsed and leashed,
they testify. Something was fed here, something rendered.

Melinda LePere, a retired Detroit teacher, holds an MFA from Vermont College. She has been published in numerous journals: The Patterson Review, The MacGuffin, Mantis, Juked, The Collagist, Valparaiso Review. She was nominated for a Pushcart. Melinda’s affinity for the surreal is manifest in a fascination with puppets, fairy tales and the ordinary strangeness of life.