Completed in September 2008, the new Interstate 35W bridge over the
Mississippi River in Minneapolis boasts the world’s largest anti-icing
system and uses smart bridge technology, including 323 sensors that
will generate a record of how the bridge manages the stresses of
traffic. Photo by David Gonzalez
(Photo courtesy of Mn/DOT)

Did you know that Minnesota’s I-35W bridge replacement was named one of America’s 10 best transportation projects? You can read about it here at the Mn/DOT newsline.

I’ve been thinking a lot about bridges lately. As structures, bridges are magnificent in their engineering and their soaring architecture. Their maintenance is intriguing: the sly hatch doors that lead to an enclosed freeway-sized space filled with tension wires and inner workings, the out of the way paths that mirror the road above them in their layout, the way those paths often shrink down to cubbyhole sized openings that one must squeeze through while bent over to get through. Don’t even get me started on the allure of the bridge’s inner fortress being high above the water and requiring special means to access it. Don’t even ask me if the access into a bridge hatch seems like a reverse Alice in Wonderland limen crossing to me.

The idea of something bringing two sides together and allowing movement across a common area is a stimulating concept. Bridge as metaphor is a beautiful thing.

Here, one of my poems that features bridges:

the big melt
Annette Marie Hyder
Previously published in The Talking Stick

birds startle behind your eyes
your mouth holds a flood
that wants to wash out
foam over the cliffs
of what is between us

and the rush of water
has things in it
some ice still from the winter
some dead trees and detritus

my words are snares for your birds
my smile holds bridges
small ones, wooden ones
not anything
architecturally stunning

but my small wooden bridges
will make a way across
and my snares have taken your birds
so go ahead — say it

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