Deborah Elliott Deutschman



We're on the highway the last day of the year
at dusk, flowing along with the tide of other cars.
The faint surf of tires--a steady, obsequious rhythm,
flapping away in monotonous, monomaniacal cycles
all around--the only sound, except for the car radio
that keeps on playing the year's top songs.
In this dim, fading gray light--
a tone of gray without rain--
I feel as if we're in some kind of strange cortege:
the larger cars could be hearses, in disguise,
and some of the people inside really could be effigies--
all of us going where?
Probably because it's the end of the year
and everything takes on even more symbolism than usual.
The highway widens, and we're in open countryside.
Winter fields, vacant lots, billboards begin to blur
and linger on as vague after-images.
The scenery recedes.
The white wood houses have an almost eerie pallor.
The leafless trees rise
in the smoke of the headlights,
catching in their nets clouds--or parachutes of bones
opening up against the night sky--flaring with stars;
small towns, shopping centers, cemeteries speed by.
And we keep on going.
Past successions of unlit gas stations and motels.
Until we realize we're somewhere near the water:
there are signs of detours;
sandbags line the narrowed lanes
and barricades with yellow warning hazard lights
blear through scrims of fog in the overcast winter night.
The year is almost over.
It's suddenly cold in the car--I turn the heat up.
The road seems to go on forever.
Here, strapped in, stuffed into our heavy coats,
on an endless flight in a dream.
And it gets so warm, we're both almost nodding out.
I turn the radio higher, trying to stay awake.
Then, a road sign floats by, swimming into view
and we see we're almost there--
as the road keeps carrying us along,
though we feel we're not even moving.


© 2015 Deborah Elliott Deutschman - All Rights Reserved -