Dinah at the Bridge

The way the women fight for your bed here. Barter for the bed and the mandrakes, the favor of the Lord. The way the sun keeps us standing with our hands to our faces, as if afraid. We can’t really all be afraid. The way they stare, stare with apologies for eyes as though I’ll crack. Am broken. This myth of brittleness is theirs they made up—the only tragedy is the one they won’t stop telling to each other. Over the wine, the dawn, the washbasins. The bridge I see at night doesn’t sway underneath me; it conveys me to the man, the one, they say, who seized me. The way I quiver across, the way he waits. Only I can see. The moon is green. And the way he waits. Not as a man that stands to meet me. When I step from the bridge, the bridge made of you who won’t forget me. It is morning. The air is his breath. The earth I press beneath me is his chest.

Mary Beth Ferda is an Ohioan living in Gainesville, Florida. “Dinah at the Bridge” is part of a collection written in response to Genesis 34.