Poetry / September 2010 (Issue 12)

Rainbow Bridge

by W.F. Lantry

~Beijing Qingming Scroll, 12 C

If you could weave straight beams into loose curves
or even as an arch across a stream,
the ax hewn wood spokeshaved by oiled blades
and lifted up in cantilevered weight,
balanced an instant as the joints are pinned
by cloven iron spikes at hammer height,

you'd still require ways to lash them tight,
and no hemp rope would meet your long term need.
You'd have to be inventive. Green bamboo
grows everywhere along the banks. Just hack
the rampant stalks at ground level. Then split
each cane lengthwise with your machete. Tear

the halves apart. Split each again. Prepare
to watch your skin turn raw and start to bleed,
but don't give up until the loose strands seem
as light as cottonwood in summer wind.
Start weaving them as one. A figure eight
will serve as end-whip. Tension it, and wet

the whole length equally. Pinned joints offset
each other. Start beneath them, leaving slack
to bind the next along the line, then fit
successive timbers down. Check level, true,
and square, then let it dry until green fades
and cover all with any paint that serves.

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