I went into the vault to get this prose poem from 1978, written soon after the experience that provided the brief story thread in the poem. In those days, I was constantly on the lookout for images and incidents that could feed a new composition. I wanted to write, write, write.—PM
Memorial Day Bridges
That morning in Massachusetts on the Parker Avenue bridge, veterans of foreign wars fired the yearly volley over wreath-christened Beaver Brook. Carrying M1 Garand rifles like suitcases at their sides, the gray men returned to a decommissioned fire truck, Post 315’s parade wagon. Across the bridge, a mud turtle’s dome that looked like an olive-steel doughboy’s helmet had been run over by a car, the cracked house droozling yolk. A kid from his yard called for a passing van to finish off the reptile. That night in Newport, Maine, a dry ring of flowers on a tripod marked the town’s salute chiseled in bridge stone. Below the cement deck the Sebasticook River blacked out. Foam rushed through spaces in the dam.
—Paul Marion (c) 1978, 2012