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Rip Van Winkle Bridge 

It was an excellent year for the foliage
more color than memory can hold:
the peaks of heightened experience and time out of mind.
Every day while she was in the hospital, I’d cross that bridge
over estuary flats where river birches would flame
particular as ritual objects, glowing in the autumn sun,
the branches flare out and explode like perfect symbols.
Over to green pastures and first-rate real estate on the other side.
Behind me the mountains where I’d started,
the origin of streams that tumble down the stony cloves
pelvic balls clacking in a fissure crack where he slept
now just budging—imagine the stardust in his head,
awakening after twenty years, soul spiritualized with sleep.
A knifelike wind cuts into the womb.
The doctor grabs the blue-green boy
who dangles like a crab over the spilldrain stuck in her gut
peering sideways from his head out into the lights.
  • A poem by Daniel Gilhuly.

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