Road

3am drunk in the bushes and you started on about poison ivy and this dream and Follow that! Her finger points to the yellow highliter tracing a route east. I cross ramps past the twining featureless road, unmapped, outside the range of satellite. If I point, you swerve — if I direct, you reverse the gears, unwinding silence, unwinding some thread we always wondered about.

Trapipsing the hillside, I remember it now. There was loss, and a warm fertile rain that wouldn’t stop. Wasn’t there? I picked up every hitchhiker on Rt. 27 going south. Insistent. I want to go east into the impossible. I want to go west without baggage. The lake on the right — some planet I never knew. Static radio, not an open channel, unbuttered and weak, loose, tremulous — again we circle. Circle the globe, finding some circumference of pity for our past. I forgive to forget. I bank on your curving space, and resemble someone you knew once. There is still time, but we must hurry. Every clock hatches something new — a disguise, worn by the faceless.

Never settle, she said, resting back into the soft seat. Gears shifting down for the hill ahead, the passing truck. Simple. A simple trick only ponies and horsemen do. Starlets, too, but not so much. I trace your line and reject it for the smell of water in the distance. You say you cannot hear the ocean. I accelerate. It’s not an ocean, you say. I know it’s a lake but that doesn’t mean the depths don’t contain limestone and fossils, does it? I say, no. I open to the road, the wings beside me, the uncalculated morning. This tremor of the hand, shaking with every match — that’s you. I am settled, and pure, following you, falling into this lake of pure desire. Her finger, back on the map, directs, but by now it’s too late. The car drives of its own accord, reaching into new gears, untried ratios of tourque. I am calm as I pass through every Jersey barrier, flipping sideways through the rollover winter. I think I’m ok. I look out this new, uncracked window. Yes, yes — I know I’m ok.

Your trace — now blue, and no longer serious. The tar-faced spasm that is our roadway, that is the bus we came in on, the route we wander, heated, immaculate, devoted to posterity. No, it’s not something you can see. The heat shimmers. We won’t get there before dark, that’s for sure. Gunning engine, firestorm of hydrocarbon’s turmoil, a ticket for your thoughts? Shove forward past that Chevy. They say flying cars are next. I linger by the white line, I track something oil-stained and numerous. You part my ways, and I am solemn, but I am free, and elegant to the touch, the way your mouth moves against the syllables you try to define for me. Pop goes, she goes — I handle the wheel.

It’s touching how fast you can go, with what confidence. This speed is excess, cop-bait, sign-blurring, gut-gulping excess. This speed is how you approach the others, without warning or a turn signal. This speed is dead on head on shaken inside, right where it counts.

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About David

Prone to musing and to being prone. Father to two, writer, engineer.
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