Against Pessimism

Vona Groarke

 

I remember there was a big bridge
with a toll, and for once I had change.
The river was a shadow of itself below
and a thin white cloud kept time with us
to the other side.

I fell asleep. Later someone, probably Sophie,
said, ‘she fell asleep,’
and that’s as much as it amounts to
when you think about it.

Sophie took me to a fortune teller
who said my grandma would die in a fire
and would leave me everything.

Both my grandmas had already died
their bone-cold deaths, long before.
So much for fortunes. So much for fire.
I don’t know where Sophie is now.

Back then, the future was the bridge
but somewhere, it changed to the toll.
You hand over coins, he hands back smaller coins.
He doesn’t speak so you don’t either
just look ahead, release the brake,
get under way.


image: Vincent van Gogh, Langlois Bridge at Arles, 1888