When the 35W Bridge famously collapsed into the Mississippi River on August 1 2007, I was just pulling into my driveway in north suburban St. Paul, having commuted across the bridge 20 minutes earlier.
That’s not unusual: thousands of Minnesotans could say the same. After all, the bridge was, at the time, the 5th busiest in the state, freighting 145,000 vehicles a day.
Three years later, in 2010, I still had strong feelings about the collapse. I was angry. I was heartbroken about those who died. I still felt trepidation while crossing other bridges around town. I suffered a sense of betrayal.
And so I started writing about it. I wanted to explore my feelings individually, to take them apart the way the engineers took apart the fallen bridge and laid it on the banks of the big river in 2007. Like them, I wanted to inspect. I wanted to pinpoint weaknesses, identify stressors, compare theories. I didn’t want a big poem that would mean something to anyone else, necessarily. I just wanted to sort out my own jumble of feelings. Read the rest of this entry »