DREAMING THE SALT MINES, DETROIT
Beams crisscross above, around Del Rey, Zug Island.
shadows build steeples, spires, ziggurats.
Votives to Vulcan,
refineries’ blue flames leap to,
lick at starless skies, yellow smoke;
paint peels from storage silos.
I imagine these giant headstones
succumbing to ice, snow,
sinking, settling, askew—
pressure propelling tremors
who wade through salt caverns
among grey steel, exposed wires, burros’ bones.
Wearing tags like holy medals,
these men scrape at surroundings,
invoke St. Barbara,
her tower inverted, pushed into earth.
Seeking windows, lightning-streaked sky,
they genuflect in the blue-white glow
of crystal chambers, eternal winter.
I watch the coywolf
maneuver splinters of ice
stacked like pick-up sticks.
Under slate skies, he cries,
protests the thaw;
paces along currents;
eyes orange Coast Guard cutters.
Pawprints spread, sink
as temperatures climb,
as the shore-bound
study the horizon,
blue of late season snow.
Man, beast, the city’s
bronze fist quake
in crystalline air,
dream of parched fields.
A lifelong resident of Michigan, CJ Giroux is the author of the chapbook Destination, Michigan, and teaches English at the college level.