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Kirsti Sandy

Governor’s Island Bridge

It’s like one of those bridges in songs, he said

But I thought he meant

Over troubled waters, or the kind of bridge that means friendship, or healing

Bridges build, or they mend, or connect.

A metaphor

My only way home

A quick arch and a bump at the top


Pick up enough speed and it would lift you

On one side the sunset, the other the raccoon I tried to miss

Its corpse still festering in the heat

Boats crossing under us

Waves hitting rocks, motors puttering, no wake

As we accelerated

Airborne, our insides alight

With something like closure, or resolution

And then I thought

It was the other kind of song he meant

Where a boy speeds up in his racecar

Crashes, dies, and leaves the girl behind

Teen angel, can you hear me?

It is so hard to say what we mean

And to hear what is said

The structure is sound

Is what he meant

It is not about us in particular

That feeling, that night, that bridge

Loons in the distance, their mournful cries rising

The concrete, the steel, the acceleration

The buzz of motorboats

The crash of water against stone

The car tires hitting the pavement

On the way down, all the way down

I thought I would burst open but

The structure is sound, is what he meant

A Love Letter to Julian Rosenblum, Creator of the Yale Course Name Generator

You are shopping a really cool class this semester

You can’t wait to tell me about

You offer me options

Endless permutations

You are the boy I never met in college

Who does the reading

Who understands the assignment

Who is endlessly amused by academia but still believes that words matter

Who can tell Kant’s merchant joke and get the punch line right: their wigs turned grey

While I was writing papers for money for hairy-knuckled date rapists

You were dreaming up syllabi for courses you would someday teach

Wenches and Community in Behavioral Neuroscience

Imagining threesomes with authors whose books

You never sold back to the bookstore for money for beer and pot

Or microwaveable pizza rolls

I will see you in Words, Literature, and Valuation

In the front row you will look back and smile

Then look away

In Zombies, Anglo-Saxons, and Management in Europe I will give you my number

You never call

After Deviance and Photography in American Education I wait by the door

You leave by another

At a party I will see you and ask if you are the TA in Evangelism and Hip-Hop in the Portuguese Diaspora

No, for Gravity and Orientalism in the Real World, you answer

When I buy the books for Conflicts, Pathogens, and Portraiture in the Digital Humanities

You are in line, three ahead, with a textbook four inches thick

Cover smooth and blank

I imagine you, arriving home

Opening the cover over and over, and each time

A new title appears

One of countless combinations

You can’t wait to tell me about.

Learning About Sex from my Aunt’s Cosmopolitans, 1979

1980 is the married man

Striped sweatband over deepening furrows

As he jogs through streets

Named for the Moon landing

Down Apollo Road

Her windowpane in view

1979 still in a quilted robe

Smoke rings tap the light fixture

Break up in the atmosphere

Sea of Tranquility Lane

With its mottled sidewalk

Requires more focus

For a while it had been enough

Showing up with strong perfume and tickets to musicals

Searching her junk drawer while she showered

Fingers slipping through coins, twine, pipe cleaners

Tubes of paint he pressed

Just to make an indentation

Eagle Court

To Launching Road

Her kettle boils and through lace curtains

His form hurls

Around the loop

Once more

How to Break a Broody Hen

First you must find her

For they conceal themselves

Under blackberry bushes or beneath the neighbors’ rotting porch

Or if she has stayed put

Move her into a cage

With a wire floor

Until the urge has passed

Be certain that

She will peck you, hard

You will feel her loss

A broody hen fears no predator

If you manage to restrain her

Remove the eggs first

But be warned

She may start over

Unhatched eggs can rot and burst

Yet she will remain

A broody hen will sit for 21 days

Or longer still if nothing hatches

She will sit all day, every day

Without food, or water

Flat and angry

As hard as it is to break a broody hen

It is harder still to force one

To spread her feathers over a nest

Forgo food, water, shelter

Sacrifice her place in the flock

And resolve

To each soundless

ceramic-smooth object beneath

I will protect you


Kirsti Sandy is an English professor at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire. Her essay collection, She Lived and the Other Girls Died, was awarded the Bauhan Press Monadnock Essay Collection Prize for 2018 and her essay "I Have Come for What Belongs to Me" won the Raven Prize for Creative Nonfiction. Her work can be found in Under the Gum Tree, Prick of the Spindle, Natural Bridge, and The Boiler, among other journals.


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