The railway bridge at edge of my hometown
no longer hears an engine’s chugging hiss,
no longer shakes with jar of clacking wheels.
Old-timers spin tall tales of how they miss
the whistle blaring near the mountain bend.
Though trains no longer cross the Little Red,
the bridge has earned the honor to remain–
iron-clad above the restless river’s bed.
The swimming hole beneath the overpass
attracts both old and young from off the ridge.
The local preachers hold baptisms there
in sight of that old tough and rustic bridge.
I am a bandit, so they say.
But that is not the case.
I wear this mask to hide my face
like the Lone Ranger once did
back when you were just a kid–
there is a reason my face is hid,
it is a secret, not a game I play.
I’ll not reveal it by night or day.
Barn swallows rested on a wire up high.
One carried straw to build a nest this spring.
The other watched, aware of harm nearby.
To warn its mate, the bird commenced to sing.
The little black cat leaped from hayloft door.
The swallows flapped and flew like Peter Pan.
The cat spit-cleaned his paws, to help ignore
the fact that cagey birds outfoxed his plan.
Setting my sail on a shimmering sea,
I invited you to skim with me.
Away from the shore to never-never land,
together we swept, hand in hand.
One day my hand unclasped your own,
I drifted then on the sea alone.
My heart became a desert trail
like waves of water, behind the sail,
which opened, then closed a shimmering plane
without you there to whisper my name.
I listen for your voice above the ocean’s roar.
If I could summon you back once more!
But I hear nothing and feel no breeze
to carry me over the shimmering seas,
which mirror your face in a puzzle-like shade
as I reflect on the error I’ve made.
How could I have been so blind
as to leave unlocked the door of my mind,
through which you escaped on the shimmering sea?
Oh, precious love, still sail with me.