Coin-Op Landscape 

The stream that winter
looked like a front-loading washer —
water and foam under a sheer layer of ice
while our faces at the window,
despite the cold,
hypnotically stared.

How can I look at that river now? Frank said.
You've desecrated the landscape.
As if I had dumped a hulking Maytag
onto the rocks of Gooseberry Falls.

We followed the washing-machine stream
on its run down to Lake Superior,
watched it carry away our impurities,
depositing them there.

All these years later
is some overlit laundromat
I think of that window, that surging.
Of all the rivers we walked that winter,
this is the one I remember.

— Roberta Hatcher

Roberta Hatcher teaches French at Duquesne University. Her poetry has appeared most recently in The Comstock Review, YAWP, Rune and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She lives in Shadyside. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.


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