FALL 2021 ISSUE: 
The Bridge

nonfiction
PLAGUE REDUX

When my four year old son was diagnosed with AIDS, I learned about secrets. It was in August 1986, just before his birthday. To the outside world, Zack was a bright, engaging bundle of enthusiasm. But he had been premature, endured many surgeries and crises, almost didn’t make it to his first birthday where, in an oxygen tent in the Pediatric Intensive Care unit, he had his first taste of ice cream.

By Anna Belle Kaufman

Wet Autumn Leaves

It tried to die with my mother

whether from neglect or empathy

we’ll never know.  My son

the gardener and pessimist

said he’d try his best

but don’t hope too hard

then, sonlike, left

this coast for the other

and left the plant to me

By Iris Litt

Plant

nonfiction
LOVE LETTERS

When you arrive she’s sitting in the grey armchair, chin on chest, sound asleep. The door is half-open; roaring and screeching fill the room—the TV is on and they’re showing motor racing. You knock again and call again: Mum

By Annette Higgs

Old Documents

The community session convened at 8:00 each morning in the conference center, a low, rustic-looking, yellow-sided building that bordered the town green. The dozen or so clients would trudge inside, yawning and clutching Styrofoam coffee cups after a late night at the lodge’s bar.

By Edward Belfar

Water Ripple

I wanna go to the grocery store with you.

 

In your presence, the mundane is an adventure too.

I wanna run down the aisles like a little girl

You can help direct me so I don’t

Bump into anyone as I twirl.

Can we check all the eggs in the carton

Make sure that none of the babies were cracked or

Forgotten.

I never cared about any of this before

But now I find myself crying

Over every shell

                            that 

                                   hits

                                          the

                                                 floor.

By Bella Bromberg

Groceries

I saw her in a crowd. She? Maybe not. The sex sat right upon the edge, indeterminate. One angle revealed a man. A slight shift, a delicate tilt, then he became a she. A shapeshifter. An image reflected on moving water. Fluid. Whatever they are, that person, they had my attention.

By James Callan

Urban Runner

Coco Bouldin wouldn’t cry about missing her train. Doing that would risk mussing her makeup and so further muss the beauty of her passage, by train, across Italia (which was about the extent of the Italian Coco knew). By her itinerary, she should already be on her way to Florence. But instead, here she was, marooned in Milano Centrale.

By Chelsey K. Shannon

Milano

His favorite tree was the cherry, how he loved

the riot of pink fluttering blossoms in April, the

rich ruby fruit of June and the misty leaves of

 

October the same color as plasma dripping from an i.v. into a blue vein. The soul that was this sweet child’s soul was too young to figure the arithmetic

By Brian Yapko

Shadow on Red Wall

The chronological sorting of memories is an interesting challenge. My time then is distant and blurry, except my time with him. Although, we had so many happy days that they sometimes merge into a sweet and indistinct blur. But that may be how I want to remember those days... I might have had any number of ways to speak about him, but this is the only way I will ever do so.

By Jack Cooper

Stargazing

It’s never easy for a daughter to remember what kind of man her father once was. More specifically, a tall, striking man who met women in East L.A’s projects during the 1970s. Even more specifically, Robert who met Salma, and months later asked her to meet in front of their high school’s concrete wall, the one covered in Bulldogs, after receiving permission from Salma’s father for her hand in marriage.

By Marilyn Ramirez

Los Angeles