The steel bridge to the Bronx crushed
the bridge of mist that plumed
up from the tide-driven river,
erased the stationmaster’s house
at Inwood-on-Hudson, sealing the door
from the roadway to the other side,
where they glide in high-topped shoes
as a whisper of fiddles leads contra dances
in the old house anchored by its heavy
stone cellar. Masses of scentless lilacs
shiver on the strand, where horses without leads
and faded carriages wait until the day
when the steel bridge will fall
and the bridge of mist will rise again.
Crypts of granite, red sandstone plinths,
Moonfaced angels with puffy wings, these dead
Whose only fame rests in the stone—
Hier leyt begraven Van Tassels, Van Warts,
Here Lyes the Body: Relict, Consort, Wife.
Carved lambs crumble on a tomb only marked 10 years old
Gone before—as if grief locked the name in the carver’s tool.
And the Minnerly children, John and Catherine’s pride:
Four in the ground, not a one reached four years.
The cold and lifeless clay...in this its silent bed.
My light, my hope, my joy...sweet prattling boy...
Then Father, John, 46, but Catherine, Mother,
Not near, not named on a stone. Did she
Bury them all? Better to be gone before.
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