It came out of nowhere, that bridge,
A rusted anomaly in trees that had devoured the fields before
Metal bridges began.
Along we come,
A rusty Bondo-ed auto that should be a memory, but
Lives beyond its time.
So we arrive at the end of
The unpaved road encapsulated by buckthorn,
Where the bridge begins.
We brake at the edge,
My car and I, who came exploring, nothing more,
As we often do.
Face to face with the bridge,
Rusty bolts, hornet nests in the arch, foxtail in the girders,
Barely standing, beyond its time.
We sit there,
Engine clanking, spouting exhaust, thinking about options,
Even when there really are none.
I put the auto in reverse,
Three-on-a-tree, in and up from neutral,
Hook my arm on the seat back.
The road is not as straight as I remember.
Steering reverses in reverse; we swing back and forth,
Skimming the soft gutters.
No springs, no struts,
The road feels wilder going backwards,
We explore where we’ve just been, slowly.
Sporadic elms, balding, reach over, hanging on
Beyond their expected lifetime.
Jewelweed brushes the car door.
Thick snakes of bittersweet girdle the trees.
Now heat through the metal roof.
Crank down the window.
Black flies and exhaust rush in.
Crank up the window.
The clutch slips;
The auto bucks and stalls
Start ‘er up.
Gas petal down, spitting dust from behind,
Back forward to the bridge.
Okay, my mother bridge,
Our lives depend on your deck:
Mesh held together by old pitch.
Willing the auto to skim like a skater,
Propelled by speed and second gear,
We let out a scream and go.