THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE
I am the invisible bridge the bear
tiptoes across (Oh, you thought, maybe,
he was jumping into the stream?) Wrong!
I am the invisible bridge the bear tiptoes
across however unlikely
that may seem. I am the tiny hand
that reveals itself to be a normal hand
when the man moves his arm. Convenient
how everything that is is only
a trick of perception. I am the sign that reads
“No clearance in niche.” What do I know?
Maybe there’s enough room
for the bear. They added over six-hundred words
to the dictionary this Spring. I suppose
they shall have to remove some soon.
It is a bridge, invisible, the bear
tiptoes upon, it is a bridge that disintegrates
behind us, and grows under
our leather pads. And so the past is a green
bank out of all understanding,
and the future well, we can talk about it,
when we get there. We can talk about it
with the bear.
THIS IS FINE, DOG
Took the express today, and by god
it was, express.
Was it elation, as we blew through normal stops,
Cold Spring, Garrison, Peekskill,
Cortlandt, even Croton-Harmon,
or existential dread?
We were all fogged in, befogged too,
only a pattern of ripples
separating river from sky,
an occasional island
floating past like a narrowed eye
of stone and roots
and fall leaves.
Some people’s heads lolled
in sleeping, and the same exhaustion
played with me. When interior doors
opened I felt I could see
the whole length of the train
sloping downward from me
a pale yellow caterpillar, swollen
dreaming in a gray cocoon.
I took out my notebook, lined pages,
every intention of putting it to work,
but only looked
at a sticker on it, a panel from that
famous cartoon. “This is fine,” the dog says
with a grin, and a jaunty hat.
He contemplates a cup full
of fine black java,
while his roof fills with smoke,
and bright orange flames saw
into the frame.
This is fine, dog. One for the ages.
Image Credit: Paul Burlin “Surrealist Landscape” (1927)
Benjamin Harnett is a historian, fiction writer, and poet. His writing has appeared in Poet Lore, Moon City Review, Pithead Chapel, Aeon, Classical Antiquity, and elsewhere. He lives in Beacon, NY with his wife, and all-around creative genius, Toni Hacker, and their quirky, but lovable pets. Together, in 2005, they founded the fashion brand Hayden-Harnett. He currently works as a digital engineer at The New York Times. Most days you can gawk at him flailing aimlessly on that hellsite, Twitter dot com, @benharnett.