Ill-Starred

It isn’t until you are jammed on a rusty bridge in Kentucky

that you really begin questioning American infrastructure.

 

Bolts as big as hands, holding lines of cars made in countries

with cities my rural American tongue can not pronounce.

 

Its concrete, cracked like the lines of an aged face, squinting

into the sun. Beams the color of Alabama mud, Red Jasper

and the harvest moon.

 

My mother detests bridges, as in the Latin word, detesari.

Which means to curse, and she would, with white knuckles

clinched around the wheel and the windows opened wide.

 

She knows just how to escape a sinking car. Something

I have never mastered. The gentle art of a successful escape.

 

I have stayed too long in sinking cars willing them to defy

their own nature and float and I too seek definition.

 

A word that describes the reluctance to give up

when forgiveness is no longer an option.

Heather Joinville received a BA in Creative Writing-Poetry from Southern Illinois University (2009).