The Woman on Court Street Bridge

By Celeste Schantz

Beyond these muggy river catacombs in afternoon
another mother sinks down in despair:

Spill over, spill over
Now my only son is gone

She howls down phantoms from the sultry air.
On moss-wet stone two little girls are watching;
the vapor chills; heat hovers like a prayer
as something plummets deep into the water—
maybe a heavy bag someone dropped there
or maybe it’s nothing . . .maybe someone’s garbage.
Lynched apparitions jerk on railroad ties.
The cotton clouds rip open like a chest wound.
A plundering current flows, no one asks why
the falls are running black over these millstones.
The whispering girls toss green twigs through the air.
The bridge is echoing truths it holds to be self-evident;
no pedestrian will note; and probably there
will be no need to contact police or county.
The ties, this spacious sky will still be there.
The world will little note, nor long remember
one mother wrestling phantoms in the air.

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