bridge on the bay
are lines of color coming and going
at impossible speeds.
Beams of green corroded steel
are laid to rest beneath in vaulted spaces
floored in gravel and forgotten.
Those pipes they run for miles
head away upstate from the leaking
tiles and no passing lanes.
They bring that water down the mountains
in black corrugated tunnels using
height and gravity.
They run alongside the road rising up
briefly, the unseen water
gathering weight and velocity
A marvel of engineering
the electric lines bow and bow again,
are lifted up on cross beams
following the road and then multiply,
led away in silent highways
intersecting through the countryside.
In my grandfather’s day they were capped
by pale green glass and the hum could
be heard beneath the thick pine pole,
hot tarred and splintering, impaled
by iron spikes, footholds for
The workmen placed too high for my hands to reach.
That climb impossible to imagine
toward live electricity under the heat of the brush meadow
while a myriad unseen messages ran through,
quick enough to kill.
At night I heard the highway through the trees
Like a live thing whispering.
Underneath the constricting bands
of decaying cement roadways,
oil soaked verges, weed wild and trashed,
scourged by the winds of rushing traffic-
Beneath that leached and brittle ground
there is some good soil waiting.
Roofs of housing developments appear
like the spines of books, dripping rain
over cast-off coffee cups and half-full plastic
bottles. The rains fills in the heel prints of
workers pressed to the red mud, small
pools of reflected cloud. Across the road,
neighbors peer through darkened windows,
wondering who has come home to their
happily ever after plot of ground, square
rooms sealed off, vented and cooled,
cut back into the undergrowth, tangled
behind the raw boards of the pine fences.
To go home, we take the quickest route,
on and off again, the car door slamming
night and morning, accumulating the
next thing necessary to smooth, fulfilled
living- five bladed razors, kitchen ninjas
non-stick peelers and waterproof mattress covers,
this season’s colors in small glass bottles
rattling around in bathroom drawers.
We want the family vacations that make
every moment count amid
fabricated characters and
smoothly running machinery.
We want the colorful oversized masks,
the flounced costumes to beacon us
into the good life, the blue hotel pool,
the wide winging sprays of water that encompass
that one breath that tells us
we are here now, but those marks
barely ripple out before
the next comes through
and we are climbing out,
bone sore and weary,
willing to stand in line
for one more time
while the afternoon slides away.
Maybe we will wake one day before the alarm
and see the way the light falls through the drapery
and half awake, remember when we were young
and the backyard alone was a mystery,
spinning out beneath our bare feet,
worlds cool and green and welcoming,
appearing when we paused to look.