I Remember Stopping on a Little Bridge in 1972

By JAMES RICHARDSON

 

                                   It is so late 
it is early, and there, once again, 
is that thrilling and disturbing bird 
of dawn, its four notes,  
one two THREE, four climbing 
a little way up into the future 
and back down, and once again 
everything thats mine is in a rental truck 
or in the future.  

I should tell this boy 
who has pulled over by a little river 
just so he can breathe (this boy 
wishing so hard that this would all be over 
that he has somehow called me here) 
that its going to be OK. I should tell him 
to relax, that hell get there by sunset, 
sit among boxes with a six-pack, 
letting the TV run on and on.  

I wont tell him about the breakdown, only a day, 
I wont tell him about the worse things 
that will break in a week, a month, a year, 
the ones he would think he could not get over 
and still be himself, the ones 
he would hate me for getting over. 
I tell him, however it is were speaking, 

that its just fine here in the future,  
so that in a few minutes he can go on,  
as he did. I think him into the truck, 
which hesitates but starts 
this time. Now on the waters fast enough to hear, 
the reflected moon 
lets go, sweeps downriver. 

 

[Purchase Issue 19 here.] 

 

James Richardson’s collections of poems, aphorisms, ten-second essays, and other microforms include Vectors; Interglacial, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; By the Numbers, a finalist for the National Book Award; and During, winner of the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award. He teaches at Princeton University. For Now will be published by Copper Canyon in June 2020.

I Remember Stopping on a Little Bridge in 1972

Related Posts

Meron Hadero

The Wall: A Short Story Excerpt

MERON HADERO
My family had moved to the US a few weeks earlier from Ethiopia via Berlin, so I knew no English, but was fluent in Amharic and German. I’d speak those sometimes to strangers or just mumble under my breath, never getting an answer until the day I met Herr Weill.

Natali Petricic Headshot

Mama from the Other Island

NATALI PETRICIC
Aloysius is missing. The thought flickers through my mind each time I look at the photo. I never mention the baby I lost. Why burden others? But I think about him every time I hold the black and white, willing him to appear.

Alisa Koyrakh headshot

Until the Deer Return

ALISA KOYRAKH
On February third, 1966, a Soviet spacecraft reached the moon. Zhenya read about it on February fifth. The newspaper lay on the stool next to their bed for two days before she looked at it.