July 2, 1982
It is a sweltering July day with tall grasses on either side of the river gone pale from lack of rain.
The carp dabble at the roots near the shore while lazy turtles bask in sun light on the backs of rotten logs, exposed by the unusually shallow water.
Frustrated ducks swim from shore to shore in water so muddy it might as well be mud, while overhead gulls scream in their desperate search for food.
And I stand in the middle of the bridge staring down in my own desperate attempted to make sense of it all.
I cross this same bridge even in my dreams, my reality distorted by the reflected water, strange shapes stirring under the surface I can’t quite make out.
Many things I’ve not seen before appear, especially near the foot of the bridge, slimy uncomfortable things without legs that sliver up to the surface of the muck for a moment then vanished again to resurface elsewhere.
Even the carp tend to avoid these places, content to make their livelihood nearer the shore, feeding at the roots of reeds or tr4ees or off the gifts from god tossed off the bridge by speeding motorists.
The gulls won’t even feed off the slivering slimy creatures of the deep, veering away suddenly after they have mistakenly plunged towards them mistaking them for something wholesome.
Perhaps the carp, gulls and geese know about these deep beasts when I do not, having learned hard lessons about the poisons they bear from having fed off them or the poisonous green slime of the chemical plant pipes out of which such creatures have evolved.
Sometimes, staring down, I shiver even in this heat and ache to wake up the way I used to ache as a kid when caught in a nightmare, needing to shed my life of these dark dreams, ridding the river of its questionable fluids and its constantly dripping pipes of green to beautify my life, even when I know down deep it can’t be.
I ache for the water to rise again, to cover over all this so I can stare at a surface unmarred by slithering creatures and unstained by evil green.