Walking out on Humber Bridge

Empty carpark two flights of concrete steps set into the steep bank then more-than-head-high railings: the bridge reaches over brown-topped trees; dual carriageway. Thick concrete fingers poke the air then railings drop to waist height. Walkway one-way out over the shoreline. Look back: disused windmill armless, blackshocked with window-squares of white. Above, in traffic lanes cars and lorries a constant deep rumble. Down here: trembling underfoot and inside your insides. The bridge moves. It moves and the wind in its concrete legs shakes dissolves it              is          alive. Dormant monster. Fuck yes. It breathes.

Place a hand on the handrail feel it! Your body thrums to it. Further out a lone bird, perched on the railings. Then flies, lost. Far below, a dinghy cuts out from the shore through rippled water. Shoreline of tide-out beached sludge. The path rises with the contour of the bridge: sloped metal banks punctuated with riveted lids like sealed eyes greygreen wet. Crusted drains oil-filmed water where is the sea-smell? No salt on the tongue here but oil, or petrol, or fumes backgrounded on                             nothing. Shoreline factory units chimney-streaming conglomerates train’s two-tone signal.

About half way across now.

Towards the open sea: a world, worlds away. Isle shores haunted in silver, small groins silhouetted. Five white seabird specks drift.

Look down to the brown windripped water. You can track the tidal move in sea-swarms. Textured sea towards a horizon misted into nothing. A lone green buoy. You try to imagine things living beneath that thickrippled surge but the mud – you can’t connect it to life. The water mesmerises. To fall – or jump. You might die. Then again, you might not (dinghy again, shore-bound now). Drop your chewing gum over the railings. It doesn’t plummet but drifts sideways, pulled by wind then swallowed in river-sea.

Lift one leg go on do it lift it over and sit astride the railings the crossing point between life and death the mudwater will close over your head ice cold heart shock go on let go. Let go.

But to drop                         to flail, weighted                              blindly, wildly, desperately

You reconnect: the noise-filled live bridge. Head back: shoreline again scum-frothed edges black pock-marked beaches past concrete towers: wide legs, astride. Massive hangers; steel cables tall poplars in concrete and metal.

Behind you, water. Like a Lowry sea. Filled emptiness.


Humber Bridge. Available online: https://www.humberbridge.co.uk/humberbridge/about-us/ [Accessed 10/2/2019].

Headstart. Available online: https://www.humberbridge.co.uk/humberbridge/news/ [Accessed 10/2/2019).

Hidden Histories. Available online: https://www.humberbridge.co.uk/humberbridge/hidden-histories/ [Accessed 10/2/2019].

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