Her eyes close, and she sees the image
from her dream:
barefoot, and wearing a thin white nightgown, she is stepping
closer and closer to the edge of an icy bridge.
Without knowing why,
she is certain that this is where she must stand in order to recite her poem.
When she wakes it is still the middle of the night and she is alone.
She turns to her phone,
flips on the voice recorder
and attempts to record what she sees:
grey frigid water, huge bridge beams gleaming in the moonlight.
She realizes that she must force herself to stare
straight into the darkest abyss
and pull her worst fears out
of her heart.
By standing there, holding her terror close while swaying on the edge of the bridge,
she finds the courage to start ripping apart the book of sadness,
a tome written for her so long ago. The book comes apart page by page.
Some pages she releases into the bitter cold wind,
And others, she crumples up and lights with a match.
She tosses the burning masses off the bridge and watches while the fiery paper momentarily brightens the sky,
Somehow, by throwing the pages
off the edge of the bridge and drowning them, she finds great comfort.
She turns her back to the
abyss and lights another match.
Claudia Ricci, Ph.D., was a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and a prize-winning reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, where one of her projects was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Her novels include:
- Dreaming Maples, published in 2002, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize
- Seeing Red, January 2011
- Sister Mysteries, July 2018
Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines nationwide.
Ricci spent 15 years teaching English and journalism at the University at Albany and was a visiting professor for one year at Georgetown University.
To order her novels, visit her website atwww.claudiajricci.com
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