Again to the Falls by Lynne Bronstein

Mr. & Mrs. Harry Lewis At Table Rock Observation Platform, Horseshoe Falls In Background. Photographer unknown. Francis A. Petrie Collection. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

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
And cleansed
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
To receive
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.

Flow State by Ryan Racine

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water.”

 -Bruce Lee

CN train yard with Falls view towers & the mist from the Falls in the background, 2004. Photograph by Tammy Frakking. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

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

Thick mist plays hopscotch on
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡the front windows, shielding us as spectators
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡from the Falls’

Upon parking on the Hill,
our newspaper umbrellas
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡become wishing wells,
where cacophonous cellulous break down
to form
unfamiliar intimacies of newly amalgamated

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.

See other poems by Ryan Racine on the Niagara Falls Poetry Project website:
•    Sorting Skins

The Train to South Dakota by Jane Urquhart

urquhart train

urquhart train
Ad for the Great Western & Michigan Central Railroad Line. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

The train
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡to south dakota
and grandmother sits
on red plush seats
her eldest son

at home he spends his hours
with his face against
the slippery necks of horses

at home
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡and here
he cannot speak

he cannot speak the landscape
passing by the windows
or nights when view
becomes reflection

and other faces in the glass
with his own

he cannot say
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡the moon is in the water of
‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡the ditch beside the tracks

so all through the journey
grandmother listens
to the abandon of the whistle

and listens day and night
to the wheels
beneath the train

‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡which say

someone there will fix him
someone there will fix him


Source: Urquhart, Jane. False Shuffles. Victoria: Press Porcépic, 1982. Section entitled The Undertaker’s Bride. 

Click to see more of Urquhart’s The Undertaker’s Bride poems