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Bridges by Tayé Foster Bradshaw

Walking
across time
©Antona Smith, taken in Alabama, 2014
Bringing me to you
or
you to me
over a way through-
tears and fears
to bring us to
the other side of possibility
probability
reality
reality
crossing
structures
through
over
under
Crossing from New Jersey. ©Antona Smith 2016
hold on
don't look down
look down
walk on over
dance on over
wheels on over
over over over
water and roads and
all the modes that
bring
me
to
you
or





you
to
me
collectively
connected
collaborating
across
the great
wide
way


©2016. Tayé Foster Bradshaw Group, Antona Smith. All Rights Reserved.

Bridges used to scare me as a little girl. In the town where I grew up, in order to get from my neighborhood over to the swimming pool or summer activities, we walked. I was always fine until we reached the crest of the hill and that looming structure that connect roads-to-roads, over cars zooming beneath, promising me opportunity on the other side, if I just trusted the weight of my tiny skinny nine-year-old self against the wind blowing or the sun streaming over this manmade steal structure.  My little brother and older step brother used to dance or bike ride or run over them. My late parents drove us over them to even leave our big city to make this smaller town on the river our new home. When I was a little girl, they frightened me, my legs tensed up, fear made me trimble, would I fall? Would it hold me up? Stop running! Stop riding! Cars would drive over while we were supposed to be walking on the sidewalk. Overcoming that fear and learning to love these structures, to enjoy the ride, to pull out my camera every time I encounter one, has become a treasured part of my life. My daughters and I even play "roller coaster" rolling down our windows and waving our arms out, exhilerated by the rush of the wind against the force of the car zooming from one place to another, almost always over bodies of water. What bridges are connecting you?

The poet and her daughters live in the St. Louis region, connected by bridges over rivers, roads, and highways, trying to reach the greatest good in the people they encounter from every walk of life.

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The Burden

This isn't mine anymore

What?

This.

She stretched out her hands
the parcel neatly wrapped
brown paper
with a
red bow

What is this?

Take it, it is your's.

But

No, it is not mine to carry
Anymore

What do you mean?

I mean that I am giving it back
it was never mine
anyway

I don't understand

You never did.

I don't want it.

Take it.

No.

So she
dropped
it
right
where
she stood.

And turned
and walked away.

The package was never her's to hold.
So she let it go.


Tayé Foster Bradshaw is the poet's nom de plumme. She resides in a suburb of St. Louis surrounded by her family, her books, her pens, and her lattes.

This poem is inspired by the lives and burdens of many women, particularly women of color, who are forced to carry the cares, thoughts, and expectations of others without regard to their own wants, needs, and health. This poem is a release.




Black Mama Tears

It rained this afternoon

Loud claps of thunder

Almost couldn't see the rain

For my tears falling down

Black Mama Tears

too many

dying

in their sleep

on a run

at a store

too many

stopped

just walking

just working

just breathing

It rained today

And I couldn't see

for all the weeping

of

Black

Mamas.