A Bridge to There

This is it, the one you have searched
the forest for, for years,

this small footbridge zigzagging
across a creek thick with sedge and huckleberry,
the one leading to a meadow in noon light
just beyond the glade of fir and cedar,

the one the Chinese claim the spirits
that have haunted you for years
cannot cross,

the one where at every turn
you can lay down the expectations heavy as stones,
the disappointments that have eaten your sleep,
the failures you have carried
longer than you can remember,

so do not be afraid,
step out from the ferns and shadows
onto its planked surface and follow it
to where you can feel the light
settling on your skin, the warmth on your arms,

follow it to the other side and linger there
long enough for the birdsong
in the meadow beyond the line of trees
to recall something for you,
something as familiar and delicate as the sound
of your own almost forgotten name.