The Bridge in the Woodland

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,

Lunar regolith.

.

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

Here. Nowhere.

.

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.

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About alicebarrett

Small town writer
This entry was posted in Literature, Poetry, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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