Bridge at Remagen

Pine trees make short pathways
in the shadow of midday, as
I pedal sedately past
cared for courtyards,
the cultivation of others,
and the remains of Remagen.

Gravel path muting tires, but
I prefer crunching to the hollow
grinding, a jubilee ago,
when I crossed this bridge.
Linseed prairie of mourning
growing thickly on both sides.

I bustled past all the bodies
rotting by the flanks of the divide.

Helmets and history’s heroes
in that heap. Thankfully,
I would need neither.
Back then
a chubby kid, a rider,
taking turns pulling
a peopled cart,
limbs like Lincoln Logs,
stacked, the joints attached.

My heart halts at each stop;
together we put the departed in.
I fold down their hardened limbs
amid your expiring strain.

I will not stop here again.
The grave is wide,
but these wheels take
no more souls this ride.

The cart has hit a rut,
a cascade of faces,
I rush to straighten up.
Fingernails that will
grow on,
forget-me-nots in soil;
the final moments
of uncovered existence.

Soon, I will fossilize
with these memories.
For those curious,
look back to see tracks;
our lives are artifacts.

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