MOST (the bridge)


Susan Smith Nash



The rain soaked my left shoulder

with a cold, creaky pain

that cool, wet summer in St. Petersburg

my first night,

windows propped open,

sun and moon competing for space behind

clouds breeding thunder

the breeze drizzly and crisp

and a very slippery bridge across the canal.


I fell asleep on my Russian dictionary;

it creased my arm just above my elbow

I dreamed of roller-blading down wet streets my son

through one screenless window

through another across the way

glass wavy with siege,

transparent with exigency;

seeing more clearly than before

a man, face crusted over with dried blood

slumped on the steps to the canal;

gold winged gryphons chewing a chain

holding a bridge,

destination implied

or passage, at least.


Dreaming, I am that man.

Did I jump? Did I fail to fly?


Pain settles into my shoulder

like a paranoid friend

my wings ripped out by Plato himself

halting my ascent through thunder and raindrops,

holding me to the vast celestial mirror

an image, slumped on bloodstained steps

the concrete easing my broken back,

and an errant Russian dictionary

flapping against my back

like wings.