by Thomas J. Clark
Tossing up over patched roadway,
On a mild, dead, February night,
We were shooting up to 85 North
From down East on the perimeter.
It was the way back.
My stomach climbed my chest
Like a vine;
Not for the turbulent ride,
Or the highway speed,
But for the heaviness of thirty or so dark miles more,
Pressing my head to the passenger side window,
Cracked enough for the mercy
Of a half-cold wind
To breathe over our still faces.
Every streetlamp on the way
Cast us yellow before our shadows,
Severe and frozen,
When I caught them at every flicker.
I watched you too, even in the darkness between lamps.
You steered and drove onward, with a tired right hand
And straining eyes.
For a few more seconds,
A few more flickers in the dark
As we travelled on, I watched
Your closed eyes
Long enough to take the wheel
And point us straight,
Long enough to realize,
How far we were from halfway home.
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