Two Times across the Tappan Zee Bridge

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The first time was at dusk.  The Hudson River stretched

like an invitation in the gentlest glow, both banks’

forest green arms holding me, as I rose with the bridge.

And at the top, nightfall’s vision sang, and I held,

floated there, watching the city catch the river.

Her skyscrapers gathered and huddled and whispered

of the night to come, and began to switch on spots

of bright into the fading light.  And beside, tiny, immense

Liberty stood, knowing the city and flowing the river,

and lifted us all across the bridge.

 

When I returned, it was morning.  The light was harsher,

less forgiving.  The climb to the top of the bridge seemed

steeper, somehow, for us all.  And I saw signs, along

the railings, read them.  “Don’t give up. There is hope.

Call the hotline.”  Street signs. Bridge signs. Signs.

At the top: “Do not jump.”  On this, the North side, only

the river, the fall.  And the ghosts that had put all the signs

on the bridge.  I could still see them jumping.  And my car

would not float but wanted to stop and fling its doors

open for me.  But the sign said, “Do not jump.”

 

 

 

Lessons

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On the Sun’s day, she called for a walk,

so I obliged, and listened to the birds of Spring.

They sang to each other, but left me out of their songs.

My steps were slow, while walking, to know.

And back in the woods, so far that I was alone,

they began to come, each at a different place

on my path:  those that I fear most –

the snakes.  They wound right to me, looked through

my eyes, never stopping – though I could not

move.  They each wore different clothes, but none

feared me;  they approached.  Stopped.

Spoke their silence.  Froze me in the leafy moment.

Seven times, seven snakes, seven silences,

each of them with something to say.