by Anna Evans

Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007.  The Interstate 35W bridge over
the Mississippi River collapses during the evening rush hour.

Conversations form like lake ice.
        At the tenuous center of ours
you hover alone, ask me
a question of uncertain weight
while I watch the news.

What held last year will not always hold:
bridge supports crumble like pretzels.
                     Imagine those rush hour
drivers approaching the Mississippi,
the route an old shoe, their thoughts laced
tight and tied in a bow. Unraveling—
the road
        drops like a service elevator,
                     tips cars into the river,
        in an unlocked instant.

I do not see how
you can bear my reply. A hairline
crack appears at the precarious place
where you have set down
your heavy words.


Anna Evans is a British citizen but permanent resident of New Jersey,
where she is raising two daughters.  Her poems have appeared or are
forthcoming in journals such as
The Harvard Review, The Atlanta
, Rattle, and Measure.  She has been nominated three times
for a Pushcart Prize and was a finalist for both the 2005 and 2007
Howard Nemerov sonnet awards.  She is editor of the formal poetry
The Barefoot Muse and gained her MFA from Bennington
College.  Her first chapbook,
Swimming, was published in March
2006 by
Maverick Duck Press.

On “Collapse”:
Not surprisingly, I wrote “Collapse” last August just after the
Mississippi bridge collapsed.  I was also reminded of the J.B.
Priestly play
Dangerous Corner, which explores similar ground.  
I kept thinking about how those drivers were probably on auto-
pilot, driving a route they drove every day, and then suddenly
everything changed.  It’s human nature to avoid asking
unnecessary questions which might risk the status quo, and this
applies to relationships as much as to bridge inspections.  I
hope “Collapse” makes the reader think about uncertainty.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 3, Number 1
(Spring 2008)

Copyright © 2008
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.