House of the Tomato

If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato. -- Erica Jong

Regional website for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, in partnership with the Reader's Loft.

GREEN BAY / NORTHEAST

Celebrating, sharing and inspiring poetry throughout Wisconsin.

Scared to Death of Bridges

Scared to Death of Bridges

          I concentrate on my girlish space
in the world: pinprick vinyl, carpeted floor,
grooves under my butt, bare legs sticking.

          From the back seat, I spy girders in a mottled
sky, press myself back into the upholstery,
scrunching my eyes tight. I pat for the window crank

          in darkterror, a turning arm of plastic,
biting my tongue on a gasp, imagining
the trajectory of a station wagon.

          Rigid with dread I wait for it, wait for it:
our wheels bump, crossing bad transition, shifting
cement and metal. I squeeze the doorhandle,

          hold and unhold my breath. I hear the river is
always cold. There is no stopping progress. I wish
I could get out. The car is relentless, thumping,

          tire tread rolling over metal mesh, open to the water.
And it begins: that gruesome singing,
a whining up my spine, on edge.

          I speculate my odds of surviving,
crack a window. We come over the hump.
Dad does not decelerate.

          Mom lights a cigarette, blows smoke at the roof.
I am comforted by the small churn of nausea
in the pit of my stomach. The whole back of the car

          jounces, jolting us forward, a family of five,
campaigning, bottoming out a rare redemption.
We did not die. 

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