The restaurant deck overlooking the lower Niagara
is closed, tables and chairs taken inside
for the winter. The only one here, I stare
down at the wide, green river,
the swirling gulls, a fisherman’s small outboard.
If you were with me, I’d tell you what I learned
from the book I was reading this morning:
that 11,000 years ago the Falls stood here
in Lewiston, its crest eroding
the seven miles south to where they are now;
that in 50,000 more years, they’ll retreat,
foot by foot, twenty miles to Lake Erie
and cease to exist, numbers that might move us
to silence or my joking I’ll be an old man by then,
this cold, wind-blasted gorge driving us
to a cozy pub where we’d settle in with the locals,
asking, as we usually do, about where to find
the best Italian, or a good beef on ‘weck.
We’d reminisce about favorite haunts long closed,
and the city we loved, now in ruins,
in the drinks and small talk feeling the warmth
of one brief tourist for another.