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.


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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