Twin cities poem

We crossed on the iron bridge
Built by your grandfather,
Biting off a lambskin glove:
Your single finger driving us,
Hands roving, buttons pulled
Open. Last night’s junk steaming
from the needle of Minneapolis
Clotting our brains.

Crossed to your mother’s house
Stacked in St. Paul, where neat
Yards and churches pressed me in
Until I barked at your prim father:
Disapproval in his head, hiding his
Alley wanderings, halved bottles
Hidden in the shed outside,
Waiting for his smooth burned gut.

Silent crossing, slipping over
The River on the concrete bridge
We want to slap each other
Until bruises rise on our cheeks,
Instead I imagine jumping
From the span parallel to us,
Breaking open on the rocks
Like the drunks. Like heavy ice.

A year later one bridge snapped
Down and held the cars under:
Jammed up the River for a week,
I saw it alone on the bank above.
It was the new one, rebar too weak,
A road too fractured by rot
To lift and carry your anger,
my anger, across the water.

Andrew McCall

 

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