The Bridge

April 19, 2013
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One summer I went to San Francisco with my family,

I walked two miles south from the hotel Monday afternoon,

I walked to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Massive, a monumental form against the city’s skyline,

Ironically doused in red paint despite the title: wondrous,

Ironically, the names inscribed in peeling paint, outlived their authors.

Authors who once were children, free spirits: mischievous in the night,

Leaving their signature to outlast the burdens of time; to last forever,

Leaving the Earth; forever forgotten.

They died in war, in childbirth, but no one will tell their stories,

People will pass by their names with no regard; no recognition,

People pass on and people pass on.

I paused for a mere two hours, staring at the bay below,

Waves crashed violently against almost submerged rocks,

Waves crashed over a cemetery – submerged.

Looking down, I felt sick, I was not afraid of heights,

I wondered how many people thought about jumping here

I wondered how many did.

Cars rushed by, ambulances did faster – a girl approached,

Out of nowhere she appeared, born from a foggy haze,

Out of nowhere she sullenly asked:

“You’re not going to jump, are you?”

“No I am not,” I replied, startled in a way,

“No, I was just thinking.”

Just thinking of what was hidden below, masked by the water,

Do the fears dissolve when you begin to drown?

Or do you?

The girl told me her sister had jumped: body never found,

A funny thing was I looked just like her sister: lost,

A funny thing was the family never understood why.

The girl began to cry, tears falling down into the bay,

I just said I was sorry (what else can you say)

I just said I wouldn’t jump, I wouldn’t.

And after a moment, reassured, the girl departed into the sun,

And I – I looked down one more time at the relentless sea,

And I – I wondered why that girl was sent to save me.

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