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June 17, 2024

Bridge Across the Narrows

By Robert Paul Allen

Bridge Across the Narrows

Light on his feet despite his girth,
he glided in and out of board rooms
and corner offices. The champion
of worthy causes, his ear-to-ear smile rose
high above the white plastic clerical collar.

Doors that counted opened for him,
and before long he had wrapped his beefy arm
around the game changers, inputting their
cell numbers in his i-phone. When he called,
they granted his requests, oblivious
of his dark deeds with young boys.

It had started long ago in good fun by rubbing
their hair and playing roughhouse games.
Lately, the word of his past was wriggling out.
A friend in the sheriff's department
warned him of the coming warrant,
backed by accusatory letters with times and dates.
Beads of sweat coalesced on his bald pate.

Rather than drive home and face his wife,
he braked to a stop on the new bridge.
He had walked across it with the crowd
after giving the invocation at the ribbon cutting.
Its epoxy coated cables and granite towers
vaulted toward the heavens like
a modern-day cathedral in a steel cut suit.

Its lines and lights whispered sanctuary
shimmering in the moonlight. The grey horizontal
beams would do, scaffolding he could negotiate.
He raced toward them and climbed,
car door left open, motor running.
At the brink he removed his cross and placed
it on a metal bar, an ersatz communion rail.

As he plummeted, the cold mist stung his face
like needles. In his final thoughts, he divined
the reflections of bridge lights off the water,
to be floating votives offering
prayers for his atonement.

Article © Robert Paul Allen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2021-05-24
Image(s) are public domain.
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