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The Floating Bridge

David Shumate
Beyond the floating bridge another world awaits. There the master
dances for the concubine. The fly watches the monk buzz around
the room. The emperor settles into the straw to sleep. I travel
there often. But I cannot honestly say I know the way. The bridge
appears at unlikely times . . . When I'm walking down the street.
When I'm eating breakfast with a child. Once in the middle of
a funeral I joined hands with the deceased and walked across.
Sometimes the bridge is small and inconspicuous. Like a poem.
Or the flight of a bird. Often I don’t realize I'm on it until I get
to the other side. Once I made the mistake of closing my eyes
halfway across and letting my lover spin me around. Now I've lost
track of which side I’m standing on.

From The Floating Bridge by David Shumate. Copyright © 2008 by David Shuman. Published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

From The Floating Bridge by David Shumate. Copyright © 2008 by David Shuman. Published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

David Shumate