My legs dangle from the bridge
while my grandfather threads the bait,
city lights to our right, Brooklyn to our left.
I swing my legs in the charcoal night
and eat coffee cake while grandpa's line
drops years between us and the Hudson.
Catching something doesn't matter,
and in both of our knowing this,
happiness lands on my left shoulder.
Meanwhile, 1,482 miles west, 38.5 years past,
two chickadees land on the winter branch
of a cottonwood, its trunk patterned an extra
dimension by the storm. The birds shudder off
the rain. One flashes her eyes toward
the dangers of food, snow or love.
I hold my son on my lap, laughing at wild turkeys
beyond curtains new at the time, old now.
The more he laughs, the heavier he is.
Now he drives toward the mountains west of here,
17 years later, following a line from instinct
to surprise. A crow lands on a fence post,
in compost pile in the backyard,
on the bridge railing in the night rain.
Its call stitches the beveled air together.
We watch, my grandfather, son and I,
suddenly happy for no particular reason.
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of two dozen books, including, most recently, Miriam's Well, a novel; Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Mundane and Miraculous, and Following the Curve, a collection of embodied poetry. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely. www.CarynMirriamGoldberg.com