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Watching the Bridge Collapse.

 On TV I watch as the bridge collapses. Minnesota. Rush hour.
Trucks and cars suspended over water. Cars swaying and falling. Imagine
what those people felt, caught as they were in their cars, listening to
music or All Things Considered
 or to a mystery on tape, imagining their families waiting for them, the
dinner bubbling on the stove, the TV programs they
   planned to watch, when everything they knew, everything they believed
they could trust, crashed
   and broke beneath them, that final moment of disbelief and
   then the terror as they fell. Sometimes I think
all our lives are like that. We really believe we are safe, the roads
   we travel built to last, and are shocked no matter how many
   times it happens, when the ground falls away,--that moment
   in slow motion, when we are walking, confident, strong
   through one day, the next when we fall, stupid and helpless on
   the floor. It was like that
when you got sick. Can it be so many years ago already? We were
   young. We loved each other. Our children were smart and
   healthy and beautiful. How could we lose? And then, one day,
   you, who could swim forty laps in the town pool, who jogged
   even in a midwinter snowstorm, began to move slower and
   slower, your hands no longer functioning the way they always
   had, your legs unwilling to obey your brain's command to move.
And now, your head
   bent sideways, so it nearly touches you shoulder, your legs so
   weak they cannot hold you up, your voice thin as a thread. Now you
even need your aide to feed you. We
   are like those cars that trembled and swayed
on the edges of the broken bridge, as frightened and unbelieving
   as those people must have been when everything they
   believed about themselves and the world turned out to be
   wrong, nothing between us and terror except air that seems
   suddenly so thin we cannot breathe. 
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Article Details
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Author:Gillan, Maria Mazziotti
Publication:Prairie Schooner
Article Type:Poem
Geographic Code:1U4MN
Date:Mar 22, 2010
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Next Article:I Am Sitting at the Table.

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