Center Street Bridge

by Carmen Leone

Great furnaces roar red flames
under the narrow, black, and rusty bridge.
Traffic jams at shift change.
Traffic cops to cue the lights.
Workers, dangling large, black lunch pails,
pass each other walking into fire
or escaping to cars or bus stops,
or on to beckoning bars.
Busiest place in town at shift change,
except for Downtown.
Driving over it at night,
at just the right time,
looking down,
one caught a glimpse of hellfire,
hellsmoke billowing overhead.
Yet young and old men three times daily emerged,
hope unabandoned,
even smiling
paycheck and beer in sight.

Carmen Leone taught English at Cardinal Mooney, Struthers High, Edinboro University of PA and more recently at YSU until his retirement in 2008. He’s the author of Rose Street: A Family Story and Rose Street Revisited. He’s the father of many and the grandfather of even more. Carmen spends much of his retirement time writing, cartooning, and playing in a country band with a couple of his boys and some friends.