Beneath Route 32

Bridge covered wth snow

A winter-dried branch
as I walked to the creekside
with my mother.
She wore her waders
and rubber gloves
and had already begun her study;
patiently, she sifted for bugs.

The soaked leaves
had lost their vibrant color,
and the scene might have been dreary
if it weren’t for the stones,
gleaming through the water,
and the small piles of snow
that refused to melt.

Beneath the concrete bridge
we enjoyed the sound of
the cars passing overhead—
their echo strange and pleasing.
Quiet as the lingering snow
burying my boots,
I stood and waited
for my mother and her mud.

She emptied her net
into the bucket,
and we sank our gloves
into the gooey, murky silt.
We picked and picked,
Hoping for those specimens
that would show us the stream was alive and well.

The cased caddisflies,
with their dainty
sandy pebbled protection,
made themselves known.
With the warm weather,
the nymphs that made it to adulthood
would surely emerge, taking to the air,
and the fishermen would soon follow.

Triumphant, we gathered up our gear
and trudged up the slippery hill to the car,
which waited patiently on the side of the road,
right where we always left it.

Poem by Jessica Jost-Costanzo

Jessica Jost-Costanzo, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Chair of the Arts, Communication Studies, English, and Interdisciplinary Studies Department at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pennsylvania where she has been a member of the faculty for 10 years. She teaches composition and literature. Her first published poem, “Providing for Naomi,” was released by Ancient Paths in November of 2019.