Sitting on a park bench by the Peace Bridge,
along the Niagara River, in Buffalo, New York
Stone and iron moor the bridge and while
cars and trucks chug over, water roils under,
14 miles an hour, white-capped and fierce.
When driving over, Mother’s command
to us kids was to plug our noses,
as if Dad might lose it, was sure to
careen the Galaxie wagon over the curb,
tearing through the rail, to plunge.
He was our one true god, the one
who brought us in, and, he sometimes
said, the one who could take us out.
Now, as I watch cars glide over
and reconsider the risks,
a future slowly reveals itself:
moving into an old brick house
where surely there will be a wife
and surely there will be some children
tearing the place apart, little girls
who sing of bridges in London,
cherubs who’ll weep in cars, the sun
too bright in their eyes, who’ll make bridges
out of Legos, who’ll wiggle and squirm
generally, and someday I’ll contemplate
the fluid cascade of their golden
or maybe red hair, their quick legs
pistoning across a beach somewhere,
a sandy tilted shelf I’ve brought them to,
me being their active god.
Only then will I understand current
and spindrift as the lake revels
around their ankles at the shore’s edge,
gentle waves frothing and repetitive.
And maybe that’s all this is:
a crossing over, a giving in,
hoping to find devotion and
belonging on the other shore.
–from ACTIVE GODS by Michael J Henry