On Mackinac Bridge

Anne Whitehouse
Heading north to the Upper Peninsula
that night long ago, I was driving,
and you had fallen asleep beside me.
I had the view to myself,
as the road got flatter and emptier.
The sky seemed enormous, the stars
so low and luminous it seemed
they could touch the earth.

The map had slipped from your lap
while you slept, a tangle of blue and red lines
obscured in darkness. But I didn’t need it.
There was one main road, and we were on it.

Our life together had scarcely begun.
We were recent college graduates embarking
on a camping trip, taking a breather
before jobs and graduate school,
before moving together to a big city
neither of us had lived in.

But I wasn’t thinking about the future
or the past. The windows were open,
fresh air blew through the car,
and I could smell the evergreen
of northern forests,
sharp and thin in the heavy, watery air.

I don’t remember if you woke first,
or if I woke you, but we were alert
when the bridge loomed up
as if out of nowhere,
its vast suspension strung with lights,
connecting darkness to darkness.
And so we drove over it and on
to the rest of our lives.

Anne Whitehouse is pleased to appear in riverbabble once again. Her sixth poetry collection, Meteor Shower, is forthcoming from Dos Madres Press this year. Recent prizes and awards include the Songs of Eretz poetry award, the Common Good Books’ poems of gratitude competition, and Loudoun County Public Library’s RhymeOn! poetry competition, all in 2016. Her novel, Fall Love, is appearing in Spanish translation as Amigos y amantes from Mundi Books Ediciones. www.annewhitehouse.com

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