Before the Bridge
Before the bridge, the river flowed down into the lake.
Turning its face to the sun, it poured itself into the waiting.
No roads then, no paved walkways, no paths.
Just the river, the banks, the sun.
Deep pools and twirling eddies. Cool spots where trees
bent down to kiss the river as it danced its way home.
Any dark places forged by nature in her wisdom, not by man.
Tumult from storms—thunder and lightning, not gunshots.
Sharp rocks and smooth stones, not spent needles and empty vials.
Ecstasy from the simple act of creation celebrating itself.
You sit before the bridge and seek solace, or is it redemption?
No matter, it is affirmation both sought and given by you and the river.
If I could, I would unroll the bandages of your life,
Uncover the source of hurts done to you, and
those done to yourself.
Winding back the years, exposing
the bare flesh of your life to sun and light
until you were like that baby in the manger,
Tiny, new and perfect.
Then I would swaddle you in something strong enough
to last your whole life through.
I am no miracle worker. I do not know how to keep you safe.
So I knit you poems with prayers stitched into every line,
Asking only that God hold you
in the love you have always deserved.
Day Merrill’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin Roof Press, Halcyon, The Binnacle, Contemporary Rural Social Work, and Quick Brown Fox. After a career as an English teacher and a university administrator, she became a career coach. Day lives in Collingwood, Ontario on the shores of Georgian Bay/Lake Huron where with her husband and a rescued dog and cat.
This poem is not previously published.