Notes for life as bridge by Tamiko Beyer


Too many days I have started as you and ended leagues away.
Is it our ambiguous skin? Human
not amphibian not fowl not insect
but mammal. Yet what among the cyber chatter
do we become? Of the people, I say,
and there’s a casing, bright as a beetle.


The sex of flowers undoes me, anatomy
of ill equipment. We say span —
arms not wings, but outstretched,
fingers not folded but crane.


Like wingbones and rum.
A whole slew of things to pick up after.
Tell me, when did drinking become doing?

We were thinking of color, how yellow
becomes us, as our mothers warned:
skin tone of the missing. All day,
I waited for the light to hit just so.

The way the plants turn leaves to face the sun.
That’s devotion, you might say,
Or maybe just dumb instinct.


The eye bends what it cannot see.
End of a restless winter.
It’s as if things are growing:
day’s length, muddy brown buds–
but nothing slept soundly for months.
I’m all for lush, but we’ve missed the deep freeze.
The sound of snow falling on snow.


Obsession with what disappears. I want
to be crown to your kingdom
bird to your wire. I am not
afraid to see again.


What means never alone again called to task
and you in your coats, standing with hands behind
your backs, heads bowed in prayer,
in punishment.

We’re splayed like a fish — be hubris or bridge
We never wanted such a small thing
to come into our body.
Never wanted such patience.




Tamiko Beyer is the author of We Come Elemental (Alice James Books, 2013) and bough breaks (Meritage Press, 2011). She is the Associate Communications Director at Corporate Accountability International where she harnesses the written word to challenge some of the most powerful and abusive corporations in the world.