Barbed wire snags like briars when
fence posts rot in goldenrod,
the cows are gone, the cowpath
a thinning along the creek
to follow upstream until
water narrows, gray planks lean
over the flow like a book
open but left unfinished,
like this bridge was when the man
who started it took to his
death-bed, watched from there a son
drive the last nails, drive the truck
across so he might die less
burdened that night. The farmhouse
is razed now, the barn and shed
bare quilts of ground. All that’s left
some fallen-down four by fours,
a few rusty nails, this bridge
the quick or the dead can’t cross.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ron Rash's poem The Bridge

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