J. M. Pressley
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North Branch

he walks upon the bridge
rusted steel and sooty ice
gets about halfway across
stares down at the lazy, choked current
reflecting dull amber in the streetlamp glow
and as he stands there pondering
with the quiet snow crowning his head
he wonders if he'd have the guts to jump
not a long fall, no, thirty feet, maybe more
plunging conscious into the icy black
drowning, hypothermia, either one to do the trick
and he leans over the oxidized rail
watching the water ooze past thirty feet below
talks to God for a minute, maybe less
as if He'd care or even understand
and then trudges across the rest of the way
headed homeward

© 1996 by J. M. Pressley

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