Saturday, February 15, 2014

Some Bridges

Some bridges need burning.
Not that you should make a habit
of disrupting the roadways, but there
are some places that should never
be revisited. Soak it in coal oil,
set a case of roman candles
square in the middle. Prayerfully
light the match. Catch the tinder.
Call just the right amount of breeze
to fan the flames into a spectacular 
smoking pyre, shooting rockets skyward 
so the other side cannot miss the destruction 
over your personal River Kwai.

It's the ones along the footpath
you need to be careful with.
The small bridges crossed daily, unseen.
A little rickety, some creaking boards,
safe footing across the swampy part,
keeping your shoes clean. 
Your journey swift and sure,
with last year's weeds winter dry 
where you step onto solid ground. 
Those are the ones you don't even notice. 
It's that cigarette butt carelessly tossed 
as you hurry onward thinking of other things 
that catches in weeds, feeds on
the tinder dry planks till they crackle merrily. 
You are miles away before the piers smolder 
down to the water line 
and disappear beneath the duck weed.

You will notice on your way home.
Your foot sinks into the muck,
your shoe comes off  as you pull it out.
Then you will look up and see the marsh
has no dry crossing, no magickal path,
only mud and reeds and black wet spots.
You will wonder, then,
where the little footbridge went
and how will you get home now,
how will you keep your shoes clean,
and if there are alligators out there.
But the creaky old footbridge has
donated her carbon back to the swamp
to feed whatever comes next.


Cyn Hanrahan McCollum 2/14/14