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The Bridge and the Eagle

By Ruth Calder Murphy (Arciemme)

Listen to this poem on YouTube

The bridge stretches like a decrepit cat,

spanning the adumbrate abyss.

My pockets are full of memories

that rise like ghosts - like mists -

around the seams of my clothes,

checking they’re not forgotten

and sobbing when I tuck them back to bed.

Behind me, back along the way,

decay tiptoes on the breeze,

reminding me of no return

- and as I turn to see,

the horizon crackles and echoes

old nightmares to agree.

From the storm’s third eye an eagle’s spit,

bullet-quick to my sky and out, over the bridge,

showing me the way.

The sun’s last ray, on the other side,

smoothes the bowed backs of cornfields to gold,

then away to the underworld,

the day abandoned to cold and grey.

Above, the eagle hovers,

waiting for my monumental steps.

An invisible tiger pads onto the cat-stretched span

and glances back to see that I follow.

One... two… I do -

to the slats of the bridge -

suspended over shadows and suicide,

my soul tap, tap, tapping on the wood.

One step at a time the connection disappears,

whining like vinegar on crystal

and whispering sour nothings in my ears.

One step at a time and the eagle soars,

the tiger prowls and I move on,

sifting chaff from my brain and discovering grain beneath.

I come with the Night and a shower of meteorites,

like fireworks applauds my arrival.

I glance behind;

the bridge has decayed and fallen away - not burnt but rotten.

My pockets breathe onto the breeze,

setting memories free...

and the eagle soars.

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