when i was seven years old

i drove past a collapsed bridge

on my way to visit my aunt.

at the time

i thought it was so sad-

how will the people get to work?

what if the fish in the river underneath got hurt?

what if the people who worked on the bridge got in trouble?

but now i am older

and all i can wonder is

how did the wood holding up the bridge

feel

when it collapsed?

all i can imagine

is the wood-

usually groaning with strain as the cars drove over it-

finally groaning with relief

finally shattering into splinters

and letting the bridge above it fall

into the clear water

over the mud.

the wood under the bridge

finally being able to be there

without pressure from above

without being the only thing holding the bridge up.

the wood under the bridge

free from tension, now,

and relaxed

instead of tensed to

keep the pathway stable.

the wood under the bridge,

no longer supporting itself

and everything else

and anyone who uses the bridge,

now being able to exist for itself.

and sure,

maybe

the wood under the bridge

was thrown out

or burned

or taken away to rot

but at least it was free from holding up

that old bridge

that was rotten from the inside out.

at least

the wood under the bridge

had one last moment to be free

to not have to support anything

to finally be able to collapse on itself

and be still.

i drove past where that bridge used to be,

recently,

and i saw that the bridge

had been replaced

with stone, with

columns rising from the mud,

from the clear blue water,

to hold up the bridge.

and when i saw that bridge,

i thought,

how much nicer the bridge looked,

now that it wasn't being held up

by one long piece of wood,

now that it was being supported

by something

that was designed

to support it.