Crossing Bridges

Emma Pearl Ramsey, Stephen F. Austin State University

for Grace

You told me you love
the way the bridge over Caney Creek,
sounds like tinkling piano keys,
our wheels rolling over ribbed cement.

I didn’t tell you
that the break in sound
from road to bridge
shudders through me
as if I were a train rattling full-speed
over trestle and track.
Or that bridges in general
remind of the long one
between Washington and Oregon
over the Columbia River,
the way we’d try to hold our breath
till we’d reached the other side.

The way we try to hold our breath
until all our pain is over.

I didn’t tell you that road noise
sounds like the ocean
and I would rather drown in restless water
than fly over the empty sound
of an endless bridge.

I didn’t tell you
because your words,
the notes dripping from your fingers
like rain,
filled the wide mouth of empty sound
with music,
the crash of thunder
and the yellow of lightning,
the sounds of storm
and the stillness

Your words
gave me grace
to stop
and lose my breath,
to be for a moment
in the music that bridges make.

Emma Pearl Ramsey is working on her undergraduate thesis in poetry at Stephen F. Austin State University, in the piney woods of Nacogdoches, TX, as well as minors in Literature and German. Emma grew up on a small farm in the country, and loves all things that grow, whether they are gardens, children, or our own individual knowledge of ourselves and of our place in the world. She loves to take a chaos of emotion and image and give it order through poetry and prose, but is especially passionate about the magic of poetry.