EDWARD BYRNE

 
 
BRIDGE CROSSING: 
CRAWFORD COUNTY, WISCONSIN 


 

As the river twists between trees too full 
        to allow late sunlight through, transforms 

itself from bright to black and back again, 
        we have begun to understand why we've 

come here, so far from the comfort of our 
        own home.  Squinting west into the setting 

sun, we see the long stream of intermittent 
        light that leads like a highway dividing line 

toward this span where we stand.  Waters 
        beneath our feet rush over stones washed 

white by years of wear and in turbulence 
        flash their froth, only to collect once again 

at a calm pool somewhat beyond the bridge. 
        You and I have followed this river all day long 

looking to find a place for us to cross—
        somewhere where we would be able to link 

with the land on the other side.  At last, 
        here on this high road between two ridges, 

we now can connect each quiet section 
        of water we had witnessed in the distant 

flatlands, flowing in its own feckless 
        attempt to move the cold current forward, 

with the dark seclusion of the river's 
        many blind bends and the reckless chaos 

of rapids nearby.  Finally, we can see 
        the stretched cord, braided between hill 

crests and large ledges of granite formed 
        ages ago by great glacial shifts, that ties 

the whole county together.  And at this 
        closing moment before dusk, just as day's 

last light leans over the horizon, spreading 
        its red dye against that cloud-free skyline, 

we believe there is no need to look 
        beyond those odd, sometimes troublesome 

scenes with which we separate our lives. 
        For the first time in our lives, we are sure 

about the attachment all these pieces 
        have to one another, know that like those 

stone-sifted waters churning underneath, 
        we'll place faith in the entirety of everything.
 
 

[ First appeared in Southern Poetry Review


 
 

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