A bascule bridge


bascule bridge

Right now, this deadweight under a harvest moon
could pivot, start a roll of upward motion.

Weight and counterweight still echo tidal motion
while stranded stevedores watch reflections on East Float,

dreaming the ghosts of grain ships. In glass offices men float
new visions, conjure swings in fallen fortunes.

On roads where even weeds won’t thrive, seesawing fortunes
have come to rest. Every roof and joist is slack.

Wise women strain their eyes. They know slack
water signals turning, though the bridge span opens

for practice, not for trade. Some days it opens
its industrial mechanics for observers, tourists

of a sort. At the ferry terminal café they serve tourists
mugs of dark tea, feel the west wind chill the shoreline.

Duffel-coated shadows grip railings on the shoreline,
scan ripple-mirrored city lights for signs of change,

a shiver at the fulcrum. One day they’ll sniff the change
in the salt wind, they say. They’re asking for the moon.


This poem first appeared in Ink Sweat and Tears, August 2015

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