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John Hodgen

BPR 48 | 2021

Three drinks into the evening, maybe a toke or two, and we’d joke sometimes, the way we used to, about jumping off the Tobin Bridge together. We’d be like two Chuck Stuarts, only without the “I didn’t do it”s from the Boston Herald’s banner headline. Or, in the unabridged edition, a darker joke decidedly, how, at the very last minute, we might not go together, how one might push the other, wash one’s hands of it, like Pinky Lee wiping pie from his face, or Pontius Pilate, facing the infinite, saying, What is truth? , truth like a tumor all this time, a dirty rumor, the sublime turning into the height and the depth of ridiculousness. Or, secretly, on the trestle of sleep, maybe one goes first, jumping at the chance at giving the other some relief, some easier grief, to say no, to not die, to watch the other’s soundless plume like a cormorant sluicing in, the listless, stupid waves coming on, telling whoever is left to hold on, head back to the car, throw up along the way, get in, drive off, pull over again, turn around, begin the long way home, throw up again. Then again. As if it were their job now to live, remembering they used to call the bridge “The Mystic.” Straight up. No lie.