Amplexus 1980: Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Kermit, how you have misled me
with your human clothing and gentle
manners. For you, every body of water
can become a quaint fishing village
at dusk or dawn. Into fog and towards
accidents, I followed your lead. I
plummeted, all the while believing
invitation made up three tenths of the law.
Like a Kansas City disaster, but over
water and causing a different mourning.
A bike assembled from parts is called
a basket case. There are still men so
afraid they will not board trains or cross
bridges unless they can hide in trunks
or window-less toilets. Kermit, your
trenchcoats gave you away. You slammed
a vacuum cleaner through the walls of
your doublewide in the name of hard
work. You left early for this commute.
Your phone sounded different when it rang,
like people were piled on top of it, but no
one was home. It was a big, ferocious bluff.
Cement. The Zoloft bouncer at Club
Depression. A memo you never wanted to get.
[At the consulate, the workers are only hired short-]
At the consulate, the workers are only hired short-
term, so as to prevent them taking bribes to do favors:
In Florida, we are re-defining film noir: the traveling
electric chair, the barbeque pit, the streams of all these
different dead people we once were: babies, teenagers,
something always propelling repellent motion. For us
to live, the hosts must die. It’s better to burn blueberries
afterwards than to re-harvest their pasts. It’s like making
a feast and dying before you have to clean up.
I’ll see you at the liquor store and raise you ten points.
Erica Bernheim currently teaches English at Florida Southern College, where she also
directs the creative writing program and the visiting writers series.
Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, The Kenyon
Review, New Reader Magazine, DIAGRAM and The Missouri Review.