‘Visiting’ [for Stephen]
by Tony Birch

I trace your life along the river…

I trace your life along the river below the Cat-Walk, where we hung like sleeping bats, from the rusting girders we left behind in morning light, to fall through summer heat and touch the velvet waters waiting for our young bodies sixty feet below. We lifted the skirts of a Skipping Girl, strobing the night with an erratic neon dance, she lit the riverbanks infested with years of stolen car wrecks inviting wet lovers. Until the day came to dress the Girl and order her to perform for the peak-hour crawl, homeward bound capsules, heading into the eastern emptiness. Today the river's edge is beautified, bridges are caged in safety, Deep Rock lies drowned beneath a strip of freeway and the long-abandoned sweat shops dazzle in glass and steel. Sitting at the falls where we ran reckless, I skip stones across the water and conjure memories of you. I see us here on summer nights. Together we carried the river home with us, in our hair and on our skin.