THE WALT WHITMAN BRIDGE
by Steven Goff

Ferris Wheel

At the impetus of fortune or fate,
you and I have stolen ourselves away to the confines
of a bucket seat
and are lifted easily like silver hands traversing pearl inlay
on the face of an antique clock.

We are cradled by the Ferris wheel’s
interlocking latticework, the choreography of lights
below is radiant and rainbow like.

Love is when the iron webbing
of the wheel lurches to a halt and by chance we find
ourselves perched at the very top.

Upon being taken up,
love is returning to solid earth and feeling assured
by the firmness of the fairground squarely underfoot.

The evening’s intimations
balloon as if fixed to a plastic clown’s gaping mouth.

On Stilts

I am walking on stilts, taking surefooted steps over the sea.
The very tops of shingled roofs are accompanied
on the storm’s lip by ceaseless foam beating against
bare wooden stems.
I am impervious to the swollen mist that rises to arrest me.

How funny I must look, a flamingo borne from the water’s
froth, a paragon of grace gliding effortlessly
across unyielding surf.
I step forth and roads bubble up. I strut upon gangplanks
of foam, carrying myself with the persistence
of a pendulum.

There are no shores left to wash up upon.

Headless Statue of Orpheus

There is no part of him that does not yearn
to be heard, his muscle’s cord having been
drawn nearly as taut as a moleskin drum.
We cannot know the prosody of his turned
head or craning neck,
his arms’ overtures have been silenced.
The frenzy stirred into being by his hands
has long since settled down as his fingers
fracture and physically break.

Strumming at the bodies vine, fretting over
tendons and skin,
the ligatures that bind his lithe brawn are
still fine enough to double for viola strings.

Imagine how pliant his tongue would be
had it been maintained, his willowy frame
had it not been disassembled
like a flute and packed away. Sour features
wane. The body badly needs to be restrung.
Stone becomes an instrument of its
own pain playing out a fading denouement.

Distant Animal

A blaze of horn amid startled breadths, fiery lungs
start in against your inner haunch
as yellowed grass is met with brisk air.

The dun of your hind legs is streaked with bronze.
Winter’s end has been etched in equal parts
across your bare fur as copper settles
on the velvet surface of your antler’s tines.

Handsome traveler, the underbrush suddenly parts,
unshod hoofs in flight mix dirt with freshly
budding columbines beside the path.
Your eyes bore into me as a minivan’s
headlamps might.

Only blonde sprigs remain after you pass,
only what was snared by nettles or myself
is left.

The Walt Whitman Bridge

A bridge between thoughts without pause, I drive
at my ease observing a stretch of the road.
The enumerate shadows of birds descend from
lofty uprights like a smog, the superstructure’s
unchanging green is bullied on by traffic
in abeyance that cannot be contained between
green towers and tolls.

Old paint flecked struts chip, steel beams become
undressed. Top forty hits are carried by a fervor
of horns that whistle and laugh.
Regarding women and men the same, entreating
of each what good new thing the earth bestowed
on them, the bridge straddles escarpments
abreast the Delaware and strips, reveling in its
nakedness.

About the Author:

Steven Goff studied psychology, creative writing and publishing at Drexel University. He enjoys writing personal poems indicative of life in the Philadelphia area as well as ekphrastic and literary leaning poetry. His other interests include making music and mosaic art. Stevens poems have appeared in such publications as Pendora Magazine, The 33rd, The Magnolia Review, and Literary Yard among others.

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