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MUSED Literary Magazine.

The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge

Marianne Brems

Soggy ground shifts.
Rain follows more rain.
A pillar groans
as its footing slips
under the weight of a dying bridge.
Cracks travel up its spine
stealing life as they go.
The roadway sags.
Steel rebar peeks out of gaps.
Traffic ceases on a surface
too broken-hearted to connect
the sides of a yawning canyon.

Workers in hard hats and orange vests
with their jackhammer and iron ball
breathe the last life out of
the failing structure
as food, diesel fuel,
and homework from the school
travel by helicopter
across the gap.

With scraps of concrete
hoisted from their grave,
a trail pushes through,
an artery of life
with steps and bends
to feed the gaping canyon
until the new bridge is done.
Residents who knew only
their windshields
now exchange greetings
while walking to buy milk.

During their walk,
pounds dissolve into firmer flesh,
smokers quit their habit,
birdsí songs reach thirsty ears,
and friendships begin.