This hatred of factories.
I have never been in one.
Fifty 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 whittling a root
or on a bridge waiting for the ice to break.
It is ten years since the factory closed,
my father gone.
As I look at the portrait now and try to follow his gaze,
I can see the river running around the locks
through the arches, past the dark bones of factories
out to a casting sea.
He never talked to me about his life in the factory
but sometimes when I turn over late in the night
I hear his voice
whispering to my mother, her whispering back.