Poetry by Karen J. Weyant

Finding Crybaby Bridge

The road is mud slick and root tangled, 

so I park and walk, sinking with each step. 

In some places, the pine trees reach for me,

long needles smothering  

the late afternoon sun into shadows.

When I get there, I find 

the worn covered bridge creaks 

with each turn of the wind, 

and the wooden floorboards.

Everything looks ready to tumble

under any weight, even that of a ghost. 

I’ve heard the stories.  Some say

that a young unwed mother threw

her baby over the railing 

and then hung herself from the rafters.

Others say that she flung herself

over the side, her baby wrapped to her chest.

They all say that she haunts this place,

weeping and searching for her child.

Her wails are always part of the story.

I stay here for a few minutes, seeing nothing

but shadows, hearing nothing but the gentle

ripples of the creek that flow past me. 

Back when I was in eighth grade, I found

a pregnant classmate crying in art class, 

her hands smudged with coal she was using 

to draw, her fingertips the same shade

as the mascara streaked on her face. 

She disappeared two months later. 

I wonder why I am thinking of her now.

Karen J. Weyant's poems have been published in Chautauqua, Fourth River, Rattle, and River Styx. Her first book of poetry is Avoiding the Rapture (Riot in Your Throat Press, 2023). She is an Associate Professor of English at Jamestown Community College in Jamestown, New York.