Jumping the Perrine Bridge

He looks like any other gen-X-er—
jeans, logoed t-shirt, ponytail.
Casually, he walks to the center
of the throbbing bridge,
pulsating with the cast-off energy
of a steady stream of semi-trucks.
While heading to mid-bridge,
he reaches back repeatedly
with his right hand to practice
the parachute release motion.

Standing alone in the center
of the one-mile span
over the Snake River Canyon,
the jumper pauses to watch
a sparrow hawk circling and gliding
next to the sheer rock wall;
he sees the gray-green water
480 feet below and the U.S. flag
planted by a fellow jumper
on the grassy landing pad next to the river.

Then, he simply steps over
the fence and into a freefall.
Almost immediately, he reaches back
in his practiced action
and pulls the parachute cord.
Whoosh! Snap!
Adrenaline-drenched,
the jumper floats deliriously–
in love with the universe,
and lands next to Artemisia tridentata
(the fancy name for sagebrush).

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About Judy Grigg Hansen
I write poetry and nonfiction, and I am passionate about the people, places, and wildflowers of Idaho and the Northwest.

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