Tollgate on a Bridge

Tollgate on a Bridge

Heading to a tollgate on a bridge,

No stopping, no U turn allowed,

The African drum beats rhythmically

From a CD player in the car 

And the sun climbs shortening shadows.

The river below distances further

As the vehicle climbs the arc of the bridge

Pulleying to lift our souls.

The face of the river glistens with little stars

Where private sailboats and motor boats bathed,

On one side of the river for the summer

Freed from a crate–a winter home in a boat yard.

But big battle ships on the other side,

Defenders of freedom

Are on duty perennially.  

The arm of the gate rises

As I feed the meter with dusty coins

From the ashtray on the console,

The engine races toward the pungent salty air

Freed from the lassoes of the entry and exit

Of the tollgate bridge.


Year of the Rat