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Timeline to a Bridge

4:07 A.M.
The note on the kitchen table assures her that he’s gone
to buy bread and milk for the coming day.  The last
printed words say he’ll be careful and that he loves her:
they are probably true.
4:11 A.M.
At the corner station he fills the tank and asks for change
to use the automated wash.  He decides against a second pass
and the special hot wax.
In a blur of blues, cleansing brushes pummel the windows
as he scrawls a second note: we are meant to be unsure
of what is written here.
4:37 A.M.
From the break-down lane, he imagines the bay’s salty embrace
with distant cities; a big truck’s rumbling spreads through him
like a convulsive shiver.  The bridge is arresting tonight.
4:39 A.M.
There have been women, of course, but mostly he imagines
the men who came here before him—those who didn’t hesitate
to let the late-September currents do what they would
with masculine sorrow.  He questions if there was enough time
for thoughts of children, enough balance for consideration
of legacy, judgment and shame.  
4:41 A.M.
The door is still open; the engine is still running; and soon
his family will wake.
The arches of his naked feet form to the final rail—
it's less significant and higher than he remembers.
As he teeters, expertly—accepting the odds
in the toss of a coin—paradigms flip; universes
pause to see which promises he’ll keep.

15 Feb 07

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Awesome narrative.

In my opinion, the only thing that distracts from the strength of the poem are lines 12 and 13.  You are telling the story from his point of view - as the narrator you know what he is thinking, how he is feeling ect - and yet you've stepped out in those two lines and aligned yourself with the reader - throwing your hands up and implying that you didn't really know what he was thinking either.

If he doesn't want people to know what he is writing thats fine - but you can't be privy to his thoughts - without telling us what he did write. Plus, he is not jumping off the bridge for 'us' to read about it in a poem.

Anyway, its just a thought - but all in all this is great. A great read.

Favourites lines are 20/21 - And I love the entire containing stanza.

 — PollyReg

This hurts my heart, for all the ones left behind and for the jumper, too.  Followed him the whole distance but didn't hit water with him.  Sad but written well.
 — Isabelle5

It says we are meant to be unsure of what is written, not that the narrator doesn’t know what is written. It adds to the feeling we are watching the story unfold, with the narrator. We are not supposed to know. Isabelle thinks he jumped, some may think he got milk and bread and went back home to his family.
 — unknown

there were some things
that bothered me...
does anything bother you?
nice poem
 — chuckles

Many of the lines’ last words are foreshadowing, and the enjambments in the last half increase the punch. My favourite is
“with masculine sorrow. He questions if there was enough time”.
 — unknown

I did think he jumped.  Thanks for giving me a different spin to think about.
 — Isabelle5