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The Bridge

Alicia Evans

It was back when December was actually cold

That I saw you for the last time.


Something told me quietly, “This will be it” 

as I drove over a bridge,

licking the tears off my lips, mixed with your cancer-induced sweat.


It tasted salty.


The man who went to my soccer games

and defended me from both of my parents

manifests himself in every great decision I make.


You’re not around to see the fruits of your labor.

And for that, I apologize. To no one,

every single day.


Before I laid at night to sheepishly ask you to  “Show me a sign”

I remembered how this weekend I was talking to a friend

about you.


“My grandfather would wait in the parking lot for hours

until my shift finally ended;

“Once, he told my first employer that he wouldn’t let his granddaughter work

At a place where they made racist and sexist remarks.”


You did this while unfolding a newspaper

With a face that read I migrated from Jim Crow

South, I will be damned to let it find its way here.


I cried when I didn’t get my license, and you said

‘You can cry in front of your grandfather

Because you know I love you no matter what, right?’


In the middle of this memory, my friend and I crossed the bridge, an old part of our commute.


I haven’t been here in years.

And no taste of Wherther’s caramel, old-school peppermint, or

Gospel music could have jetted me to the past quicker.*


This was where we listened to Pure Moods;

This was where you said you were proud of my grades;

This was where you asked about my friends. All of them.


And suddenly tears, fresh sweat, a ghostly kiss?


I licked my lips and tasted

The salt of good memories


*Nod to Billy Collins Poem “The Lanyard” (Verses 7-8)

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