Crossing the Bridge
By Christina Hutchins
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.
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.
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).