A Cigarette Under the Bridge

by Joseph Armstead

Today? Tomorrow? What time is now?

It spans the harbor
like a colossus,
its towers jutting
from out the water
like massive legs,
and it chains
one side of the Bay
to the other side,
linking them like
the errant mutant flesh
between conjoined twins,
and I am standing
in its vast shadow,
alone, with an unlit
cigarette dangling
from my unsmiling lips.

I'm trying to peer out
across the water,
out towards the horizon,
but the mist from
off the water
as the sun rises
makes everything
hazy and indistinct.

I can't see much, the details are lost.

Foggy, damp and a little cold
and the tide is rising
in thick, white-capped swells
that rock the tour ships
and the beat-up tugboats
passing under the bridge.
I imagine I can hear
the faint clamor of voices,
sounds from distant shores,
carried by the wind across
cold turbulent waters,
and I roll my cigarette
from one side of my mouth
to the other, thinking.

Under the bridge,
a gust of wind carries
spray from off a passing

I feel like I've been dusted with diamonds.

I take the cigarette
from between my lips
and slip it into
my shirt pocket, turning,
and I walk out from
under the bridge's shadow.
My liquid jewelry
glints in the sunlight.

Tomorrow is good enough.

The 45 Apocrypha

Joseph Armstead is a suspense-thriller author, poet and computer technologist. He has authored nine novels and over two dozen short stories and been published in a dozen magazines and online journals. Really. And he writes poetry because there are some things that cannot be quantified within the framework of a plot-driven narrative. He writes poetry because he loves words and language. Sometimes he writes verse because he has trouble sleeping, but at other times it is because he has seen some image, some visual, that has sparked a dream of drama in his mind's eye. Mr. Armstead's subscription for behavior medication should probably be stronger than what it is.

Last updated August 25, 2011