Crossing the Bridge

By Christina Hutchins

i.
One poet died, in her dying
took her blood child, and
left behind another poet:
husband, the father of the child.

5 o’clock Friday, tell me
your day, my reader was brushing her beautiful
hair, and even the summer doorjamb rejoiced
with late sun. His wife, she said. The child

Quick, I dodged a pummeling
weight. Then felt for him a managed sorrow
while for the dead poet nearly nothing—how 
terrible—I cleared my throat.

 

ii.
Driving the Bay Bridge, late night
thumped between retrofit plates.
Sweetly tired, and you, my reader, driving,
I let language lead me home.

But in the tunnel through Treasure Island
the dead woman’s torment, quiet as a cat,
slipped over us and tread 
me under. How terrible

her suffering must have been. A merciless
kneading. Darling beside me, we, too,
have traveled very low, been palpated, unbearably. 
What could have been, how nearly.

 

iii.
A tendered, rolling thing, I am
death interrupted by moonwane.
We are out of the tunnel: city lights
shatter; they ride the night waves.

 

Unseen below, steel pilings dare first the broken
surface, then impenetrable ink, then mud,
and finally, in a place none alive has been,
settle beyond the reach of the pile driver.

The ramparts of the world rest on nothing
but the buried gone to bed.
Only silt now, yet how steadily
it must bear us, reader. 

 

From The Stranger Dissolves (San Francisco: Sixteen Rivers Press, 2011).


Christina Hutchins teaches Whitehead’s philosophy and courses on poetry and theological imagination at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley. In 2010-11, she won The Missouri Review Editor’s Prize, National Poetry Review’s Finch Prize, the Becker Chapbook Prize for RADIANTLY WE INHABIT THE AIR, and Sixteen Rivers Press published THE STRANGER DISSOLVES.  Recent poems appear in Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Denver Quarterly, The New Republic, Salmagundi, The Southern Review, Women’s Review of Books, and in her essays in volumes by Ashgate, Columbia, Fordham, Milkweed, and HarperSF.

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