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Bay Bridge


Weights strapped to your chest, 
you jumped, landing on your back 
in the Oakland psychiatric ward. 

Eyes shut, I dream softly of parachutes 
falling across the sun-streaked sky 
to the beach below our house. 

You are there, grinning like a hero, 
as the straps drop away.  Father, his arm 
around you, whistles, and Collette 

bounds into the moment, joyous, living. 
All around and in you is light, 
mirroring the shimmering sea.  I reach 

for you then, saltwater burning 
my hands. As your face drifts away, 
I plunge after you into the water. 

"Father, where are you?"  Our sail 
has disappeared.  Funeral ashes float 
on the bay -- nothing for us to hold on to. 

And so the years pass like translucent waves, 
carrying me away from my brother. 
Standing on the top of Sandia Crest, 

I call out his name.  On the Bay Bridge, 
his head turns, hearing whispers again. 
Gulls rise from the driftwood, startled 
 

- Deborah Finch

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