I Pass Over its Bridges

I cross the Mississinewa River
to get groceries, to meet friends, 
to go to church, to carry art to exhibits, 
to visit the cemetery where my ancestors are buried.

 Each time I pass over its bridges: singing
“Can’t Buy Me Love” at the top of my lungs 
while riding in the backseat of Mom and Bobo’s Buick 
on our trips for ice cream at Dairy Dream, memories
of Mom before dementia set in, always driving, 

of Dad laughing when we’d cross 
the wooden bridge in Granville, 
its rickety racket making me panic, 
of my own daughters giggling over boys
in the backseat as we drove home 
from miniature golf or from Pizza King,

of Mark singing “Sun Arise” along with Alice Cooper 
in his red Vega after one of our movie dates, 
of riding school bus number 26 to Delta on Highway 3,

 Bill and I sailing south, heading toward our honeymoon 
in Florida, of crossing it pregnant, traveling home 
with two daughters three years apart, 

of driving to work in Muncie 
selling sweepers as a single mom, 
after carrying years of marital
fear, unkind words, and tears
across that bridge, of seeing 
that bald eagle perched 
among autumn leaves,

after leaving mom in hospice,
driving home, alone,
across the familiar river.

Lylanne Musselman is an award-winning poet, playwright, and visual artist. Her work has
appeared in Pank, The New Verse News, Flying Island, Rose Quartz Magazine, Last Stanza
Poetry Journal and The Ekphrastic Review, among others. Musselman’s work has appeared in
many anthologies, including The Indianapolis Anthology (Belt Publishing, 2021). She is the
author of six chapbooks, including Paparazzi for the Birds (Red Mare 16, 2018) and is the co-
author of Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013), and is
author of the full-length poetry collection, It’s Not Love, Unfortunately (Chatter House Press,
2018). Musselman is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poems are included in the
Inverse Poetry Archive, a collection of Hoosier poets, housed at the Indiana State Library.

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