On the Bridge

Portraits in courage.

bridge and tree under sunset

Waiting, somebody asks, what will happen when the silence breaks? When the sirens come, so does this announcement: turn off the lights, gas, water. Take what you can. At the window of the train, a hundred Pietàs. Close up on camera, the most hunted among them is refusing his chance to escape. We are here, he says, both reminder and call. Here, Our weapon is truth. This is our land, our children, our country, he says, and we will defend. Civilians run to the wrecked tanks in twos and threes to pick up armor. The defenders are on the bridge. The attackers are coming soon. The living pass the dead, over the river. The bodies need collecting. The holes need repair. Certainty? A grandmother laughs. That’s only for the dead, she says. And then, as if remembering, she crosses herself, and says an inaudible prayer.


With love for all who are persecuted by greed, tyranny, and war, especially the people of Ukraine in this historic moment. A prayer for your safety, peace and continued courage. May every witness to your example take heart, and offer it to others in your name.

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I keep watch and listen, mostly in dark places.

5 thoughts on “On the Bridge”

  1. Your writing on this topic is beautiful. Do you have a specific source for your photos? They do such a great job of conveying fear and desolation.

    1. Thank you, Jeff. I used to put quite a lot of time into sourcing creative commons photos from various artists on flickr, but since switching over to WordPress, I choose from the free gallery on Pexels that comes with the service. I sometimes have to try out various search terms to get the right note, but they are impressively extensive.

      1. That’s funny (sort of), I never knew that gallery was there. I use unsplash or when writing about current events, sometimes pirated from media sites. Thanks for clueing me in.

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