A short strip of shore, which we elongated
by walking in zig-zags, meandering from the dry,
golden grass that scraped our ankles
to the tongue of the Patuxent. This was the northern mouth
of the river, it’s denim-blue waters blending
with the Chesapeake in a potion of freshness
and brine. Denizens of the of the bay
were washed up on the sand, left to reek
in the mid-Atlantic summer sun. My grandfather
led my brother and I to the belly-up carcass
of a horseshoe crab, its dark, tarantula legs folded
in its shell. My grandfather flipped its bulk around
with a stalk of driftwood, its leather-colored husk
gleaming like an army helmet, tail a bayonet. Further down,
we stepped over the soft dead bodies of moon jellyfish,
ghosts of gloss.
A short distance south of that shore stands
the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge. It reaches
over a mile across the river, from Calvert
to St. Mary’s County. Cars drive up
and down its 2-lane spine all day, tossing
cigarettes and cola cans over the guard rail,
which is so low it is almost purposeless.
Since its construction, over twenty people have jumped
from the bridge. Countless more have thought
about doing so, even if only in passing.
We’ve all considered it: how instead of pushing
forward to the other side, we could eschew
linear journeys all together, trade the successiveness of life
for a cave of water—not a tired, local-news suicide but a deep
disappearance, an answered calling, leaving no limp
or mournful shell to wash up on the sand.
Annie Przypyszny is a student at American University, majoring in Creative Writing. She is also the assistant poetry editor for The Adirondack Review. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in 30 North, The Oakland Arts Review, Pacifica Literary Review, ANGLES, North Dakota Quarterly, Ponder Review, and elsewhere.