Despite Gravity

They come from France, Sweden, Mexico and Maine.
Designers and engineers cradling blueprints
and calculations in their arms; ironworkers wearing
hard hats and steel-toed boots, sledgehammers grasped
in the grip of their gloved hands. With scars and sweat
drying on their skin, they come with memories
of the sea and gorges sliced between mountains;
rivers with forgotten names moving beneath them,
time rushing overhead, and the knowledge of birds
flowing in their blood. On a boat before dawn
they cross the water. Starlight washes over them.
The air is moist and cool. And they are silent.
They are grateful for the silence. All day
it stays with them, as they work at the edge of the sky.

They come, because a bridge is like a dream
of what is possible. It rises from the earth
as if gravity was something imagined,
and the forces of the universe were suspended.
Workers take plywood and steel, construct a framework
into the endless air, where cables holding
a million pounds of iron and concrete
are as elegant as strings on a harp
playing the sounds of wind rising off water.

In memory of Miguel Angel Rojas Lucas, who fell to his death during construction of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina.

−From Despite Gravity, © 2007 by Marjory Heath Wentworth

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