“On a Bridge Over the Tobol River”


For Maxim, on his 5th “gotcha day”

We chose you that day.  On an arched
bridge we played our game, selecting
our steps, gliding like ballerinas
this way and that, eluding
the animal waste and other
realities that littered our path.

You can always return to that day,
to the serpentine Tobol currents
rushing under and away, hustling 
to an unseen room where you were born.
Return to skies blackening with the smoke 
of a thousand blazing heaps of remnant crops,
and the mocking arcs of a million fleeing magpies.
Return to those razored horizons, the distant stands
of white birches, gone gold with autumn,
upright in the distance like candles,
beckoning with the lure of such things
that burn without being consumed.
And, beyond the trees─the persistent steppes,
invisible except for the unearthly
chill of their delivered winds.

How those winds marked us that day
for no more and no less than we were─
humans playing god on a bridge. 

You can always return to that day,
but know that we trembled as we played.
Not because there is no such god
but because there is no such game.

–M. Salomon


~ by matt on 9 November 2008.

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.

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