Möbius, The Poetry Magazine | “In Progress” | Robert Manaster

In Progress

By Robert Manaster

Migration Issue, 2015

These so…. These irretrievable. – Walt Whitman The excavator’s bucket thuds the dug-into ground of the closed, mobile homes


A down and forward foundational dig then lift…. The diesel vibrancy, its cab’s

side-door reverberation, the grind of movement over sunstroked ground… To where it rigs its load above the massive truck.


In the unfinished city of my youth:

My arms stiffen…. My hand opens enough to hold the gray railing as I cross a simple

truss bridge,

Its beams a paint-peeled green with rusted patches.

Over Chicago River, onto steel overlay panels and heavily across a dimpled

surface, cars

Clack-clack. Whirrrrrr…. Clack-clack. Whirrrrrr….Clack-clack. Whirrrrrr…

I won’t fall… I won’t fall… as I look ahead;

Or focus up and aside and look to the city’s afternoon haze and to the bar-graph

of buildings against the orange splash-blur of sky;

Or look to the railings and past their bracket maze and down into the greenish-thick surface of this river;

Or look down to intended fittings of panels, where they don’t quite join end to end.


It snaps and clunks on steel as it dumps its dirt… the shimmering dirt,

Startled blackbirds flinging into hollow skies… into limitless boom of blue…

Into blue, oh beautiful home: endless unfolding, grave vibrancy…

rise, oh, rise!


Robert Manaster’s poetry and co-translations have appeared in numerous journals including Rosebud, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Image, The Literary Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Spillway. His co-translation of Ronny Someck’s The Milk Underground (White Pine Press, 2015) was awarded the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation. He’s also published reviews in such publications as Rattle, Jacket2, and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. Currently, he’s an Assistant Editor at Fifth Wednesday Journal.


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