My father took me down to see the flood, his factory.
March 1945. I was almost 6. He had his camera. Click.
Water was at the windows, over the front door sill.
Soaking the knitting machines inside? Creeping up the stairs
to the office with his desk. Were our pictures floating?
Here’s an 8×10. Two men stand on a sunken slab of concrete
like they’re waiting for a ferry, talking to a woman
in a chair on the mill loading dock. She’s looking away.
A boy with a cap leans over, sees street lights,
electric wires, signs, himself in the water. Under everything,
asphalt – the road. Harrison Avenue. Maybe where he caught the bus.
Rippled water mirrored backward bulletin boards. HELP WANTED.
In the darkroom Dad made this double exposure, jumbled together
phone poles, trolley lines, iron pipes against a flat gray sky, cranes
stretching like giraffes over the Miami River valley and tenements
where people lived – men, woman, boy. Fixing the moment,
he showed me: you could be in more than one place at a time. This still survives.
Margot Adler Welch, born in Cincinnati, spent many years writing and working as psychologist, counselor, and educator in court, community, school and university settings. The author of Promising Futures: the Unexpected Rewards of Engaged Philanthropy (2006), she now focuses on writing, music and family. Poetry and fiction have appeared in Sojourner, the Postcard Press and Persimmon Tree. She lives in Cambridge, Mass.”