By Sharon Suzuki-Martinez:
ONE HUNDRED BRIDGES
I gave myself a gift certificate
because who knows what I want?
I traded it for one hundred bridges.
We turn the house upside-down
in search of our passports.
A century passes
before we find them in the pages
of our children.
Too many bridges to cross.
Paths like rotting smiles, rat-kissed
tatters swinging loose
in the maw of some river god.
It has always been this way–only
your voice carries me to the other side.
Then Marie said, “I’m in love with a man
who is an island.” Of course,
many of us had our doubts.
This did sound familiar.
We said, “Which of our legs
are you trying to pull?”
She stared at us like we were insects
from the future.
Our metaphysical existence
grew negligible: tenuous, at best.
Further on down the road, we saw the man
for ourselves. We couldn’t help but
admire his thick vegetation,
his long languid beaches, his centuries
of blue-eyed solitude.
We desperately wanted to bear his young,
even the males among us.
Thus we engulfed
his shores with sweet lingering visits.
Soon, Marie saw the man
was no longer her own.
Sadly thereafter, she realized he never was.
Sharon Suzuki-Martinez is the author of The Way of All Flux (New Rivers Press, 2012). She grew up in Hawaii and now lives in Tempe, Arizona where she created/curates the music/poetry website, The Poet’s Playlist and blogs about strange animals and the even stranger poet’s life at Sharon Planet.
Editor’s Note: Today’s poems are thinking poems. We are asked to slow down, to be present, and to really consider the ideas and imaginings the poet has carefully crafted for our contemplation. “One day / I gave myself a gift certificate / because who knows what I want?” “We turn the house upside-down / in search of our passports. // A century passes / before we find them in the pages / of our children.” I could read these lines again and again and meditate on the depths of their meaning.
In “Goodbye Island,” the poet pushes the boundaries of metaphor, painting us a picture of what a man might look like if he really were an island: “We couldn’t help but / admire his thick vegetation, // his long languid beaches, his centuries / of blue-eyed solitude.” As if this is not enough, she takes us a step further, deep into reflecting upon what it is to love a man who is an island: “Marie saw the man / was no longer her own. // Sadly thereafter, she realized he never was.”