slowly to splinters that caught between my teeth,
molars grinding dry, mechanical
and mindless of sparks.
To what end? I cross them off the map
in pencil: Here Were Bridges, and Here Will
Bridges Be Again, grown cheerfully back
come spring’s first rain,
intractable toadstools, weeds of damned connection,
traversal’s promise reborn—and me stuffed to
gullet with matchwood futility, its weight
pinning me still.
Tonight I drowned inertia in shots of pitch
that burned going down, stress-ate sulfur
in hollow frustration despite this permanent
loss of appetite,
and felt them both touch to tinder past. I
set out for the last bridge southward, stomach
bursting with the keen flammability
of dire intent,
and crossed while spitting up lit matches,
hungry only for embers and salted earth;
crossed again while sweating rivers of naphtha,
in salamander boots with heels of flint,
aiming for nail-heads, in desperate search
of permanence—but found only wood
too wet to catch.
Denied the salvation of severance, I burned
the map, a final surrender to heartburn and blisters.
I haunt this bridge now, lost and oddly uncertain
of which side you live on.
(first appeared in volume 2 of specs)