Eau de Nil

Timothy Donnelly

From the treadmill through the window overlooking the scrapyard
     I watch twin cranes—bright yellow, outfitted
with grapples—pick up their heap-sized pinches of scrap
     and tenderly convey them from one mountain of it to the next.

There’s a logic to it I don’t watch closely enough to detect
     but nonetheless trust exists. Sometimes when the machines
face each other, their angularly arched arms
     cross, forming the iconic golden M of McDonald’s, and there’s

a McDonald’s a three-minute walk from here, but I’ve only
     visited it once throughout the worldwide sickness
and that was last March to buy my daughters the infamous
     seasonal mint green shakes. Their color, if remarkable, literally

can’t hold a candle to the surface of the Gowanus
     when it reflects the two nearby drum-like light vivid green
silos I assume pertain somehow to the scrapyard, possibly to store
     more ruin than the human eye can bear, which turns out

to be a lot. I think of lost friends; I think of lost opportunities; I try
     my best to think of nothing. This is life, absolutely
and without distinction, such that even if I wanted to discern
     the face that’s wet from sweat from one that’s crying, I could not.