Moon Crossing Bridge Critical Essays

Tess Bond


(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

Gallagher’s central theme in Moon Crossing Bridge is the experiencing of grief, of moving past the “emotional unavailability” and making some meaning of irretrievable losses. Moon Crossing Bridge is a passage into Gallagher’s grief. She explores the grief through immersing herself in it, finding what meaning she can, and crossing into serenity and emotional and physical availability.

In 1982, Gallagher’s father, Leslie Bond, died in her arms. One review referred to Bond’s death of lung cancer as a “strange rehearsal” for Carver’s death of lung cancer in 1988. Gallagher and Carver were together for eleven years, marrying late in their relationship in Reno, Nevada. Their love was intense and passionate, and Gallagher consistently dedicated her books to him. Moon Crossing Bridge, however, is the ultimate dedication to that relationship

In the early sections of Moon Crossing Bridge, Gallagher sketches the depth of grief. During these years of writing, Gallagher visited Carver’s grave, wearing a path around it, “speaking aloud” at the grave. According to Gallagher, she found solitude during these visits, especially since Americans tend not to visit graves except on Memorial Day. In this solitude, Gallagher explored and experienced her grief.

Images of Carver’s last days of illness and of his death pervade the introductory poems, such as “Red Poppy” and “Wake.” In “Red Poppy,” Gallagher recalls a “week in late July,” only days before Carver’s death, when they “held hands through the bars” of Carver’s hospital bed. In “Wake,” Gallagher asks, “Did I want to prove how surely/...

(The entire section is 694 words.)