Kim Bridgford


Simon Bolivar

When I was twelve, I took some cardboard salvage

Just half the size of a refrigerator
A time machine to find the liberator,
Simon Bolivar.  I found him, outside language,
Outside the close-wrapped sheets of foil
I'd fashioned to the cardboard, height to width.
I fell in love with Bolivar the myth.

The curtains opened; in front of all my school,
I crawled my way from out of Illinois
And back in time and space to Venezuela.
From where I was, I heard the students gasp.
No matter it was fake, no matter that the boy
Was someone that they knew.  In the idea,
They felt the prong of history find its clasp.  

Pressed Flower in Journal

I put the flower in my journal's pages,
And later all my writing wore a scent.
Before, I'd dried the fluttering of edges,
When water had inflated what I'd meant.

The flower bloomed, and died, and held its place.
Each time I opened up the printed lines,
I saw the folded yellow of its face,
And how it turned my words to coins or moons.

So much time now has passed, and still the bloom
Can open up my journey in the room,
For, even though it's dead, its leaves like wings
Of insects caught in light's imaginings,
It speaks of how we leave our past behind
Yet hold to it, and let the shape rewind.



Vladimir And Estragon Meet With Godot

Act 1.

We find we have some questions.  Why the struggle:
The blood, the cross, the yearning?  Just for drama?
You didn't like us so bereft?  Cain, Abel;
The snake, Eve, Adam; oh, who would not dream a
Life that takes the radish, spits it out,
And shapes the dailiness of the devout?

We find you're oddly silent in our hurt.
No, that's not right:  more like you've come apart
To dissipate, like rain, or thoughts, in air.
We've always felt you most inside a prayer—

Or most ourselves.   Perhaps it's just relief,
This emptiness we can't define.  Or loss.
Now that we see you, it is not belief
For Vladimir, and Estragon, and Thomas.

Act 2.

Godot, we're back again; our former awe
Is like the tree and roadside, here and raw.
We're not sure what we are supposed to do.
Clap?  Laugh?  Be done?  Begin again?  Now Pozzo
Would consult his watch, and then there's Lucky,
Lost, mad, and chained to self. Somehow, our leaky
Souls always sound a theme, find things to do,
And make a line of footsteps straight to you.

In life, we look for passion, something higher,
To quell our disappointment like a stone.
We kiss a symbol, hurt and love each other,
To fill the gaps between you and alone.

Is that your hand?  Or is that just a tree?
We thought, once that we met you, we'd be happy.

Kim Bridgford is the director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference.  As editor of Mezzo Cammin, she was the founder of The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, launched at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in 2010.  She is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Hitchcock's Coffin: Sonnets about Classic Films.



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