I visited Niagara Falls only once. I was sixteen
And with my family. The Customs Man
Came to know us after a few days.
But every time we crossed the bridge,
He asked us “Where were you born?”
Because he had to.
I spent much time on the Canadian side
Because it was exciting to be in another country.
I watched the trains that ran through the center of town.
Longest trains I’d ever seen, Canadian railroad.
I saw the bell tower where an unfaithful blonde
Was strangled by her husband in the movie Niagara. But the Falls? The three waterfalls,
Demonstrating the full force of water at top speed—
All I did was look at them.
My parents had been under them.
It had once been the fashion
For honeymooners to travel
To the Falls. For the maximum
In daring romance, they’d don clumsy raincoats
And clunky boots
And ride the boat Maid of the Mist
As it passed beneath the muscular shower,
Getting each marriage off
To a drenching start.
As if to say: “We are not wed
Until we’ve been soaked
In the spray of the Falls.”
I wonder if this magic might work in reverse.
If I were to go to Niagara now
And stand beneath the Falls
And let the water change me,
Make me ready
Love that streams
Like non-stop water.
It is not a question of where I was born
But rather a question of where I will revive.
Under the rainbow arc of water
Where love and courage have been tested
And children are conceived.
No age is too late for a honeymoon.
To stand beneath the Falls
Is an item on my list.
Lynne Bronstein is a poet, a journalist, a fiction writer, a songwriter, and a playwright. She has been published in magazines ranging from Chiron Review, Spectrum, and Lummox, to Playgirl and the newsletter of the U.S. Census Bureau. Bronstein has published five books of poetry, including her latest, Nasty Girls from Four Feathers Publishing. Her first crime story was published in 2017 in the anthology LAst Resort. Her adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It was performed at two LA libraries. Her story “The Magic Candles” was performed on National Public Radio. She’s been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and four times for the Best of the Net awards.
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water.”
Graffitied train carts mock the lineup of halted vehicles, forcing us to direct our attention ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡to the tower in the distance whispering the swelling breath of tourism.
Thick mist plays hopscotch on ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡the front windows, shielding us as spectators ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡from the Falls’ ‡‡‡‡flow.
Upon parking on the Hill, our newspaper umbrellas ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡become wishing wells, where cacophonous cellulous break down to form unfamiliar intimacies of newly amalgamated ‡‡‡‡‡‡narratives.
As we get close to the seventh wonder, ‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡secreted ink swim into a symbiosis that roll further down our face, where Bush is ‡‡‡‡‡seducing Bin Laden and police brutality has become a national sport.
Ryan Racine earned his master’s of English language and literature from Brock University. Racine is currently working as a high school teacher and college instructor in Ontario. His poetry can be found in The Steel Chisel, Pauses/Words/Noises, The Brock University Anthology, Pictures & Portraits, Ekphrastic, Joypuke, Weekly Poems, and PACE Magazine.