Rolling down the river…

Walking past British
Engines again, early and
before the summer
sun rises, through the
plastic flaps that
cover the doorways
forklifts come and go.
Through the open windows
the machines hum
harmonically, Proud Mary.

The men standing, smoking,
boilersuits unbuttoned
to the waist and around
them, on the floor, cigarette
ends and lime yellow
ear plugs. Over the river
clouds of kittiwakes
shriek into land
on the ledges of the Baltic.

A woman runs by, impossibly
pink trousers against black skin.
Another runner framed
against the brick wall while
all day in rain or shine they
pass me by like an identity
parade and taking the air for the
good of their health down
the riverside route past the
men from British Engines.

Ian Davidson