An excerpt from

Helix: New and Selected Poems
by John Steffler


On the roof of the Kruger mill, a tiny
man is working among piles of....I raise
the binoculars...planks. He cuts planks
on a bench with a saw fixed to it, puts
the pieces on a hand-cart, adds a roll
of roofing felt, and wheels his materials
over the tar desert. Shadows cast by
the smoke tumble across him, then he's
again in sun, chopped up in glare.
Downwind, even at this range, the mill's
flues and blowholes roar like a kicked ear.
Smoke boils from the stack at the speed
of the background waves riding up Humber Arm--
flecks of sun, flecks of foam on their crests--
the speed of the back and forth forklift
loading newsprint on a ship. Houses glint
in the south shore hills. Beyond, the Blomidons
rise, sky-blended, brown. Behind sky.