River Road

River Road

A poem.


So you had your share of summer nights,
Cars braking along the river road–
the world still asleep yet alive with threat,
the high grieving sound of acceleration.

Beauty grew too fast, like your body,
ungainly, unfaithful. Along the river road
there were nodding lilacs. Every intersection
dangerous. Your life dangerous, but you

didn’t know then how damage is made. Not
just the flipped chassis, spun apart into
anecdote–but night’s notched velocity
ascending through a blue reservoir of scent.

No, to remember the inevitable in terms
of engaged, disengaged, gear to gear, one
heightening judgment–is to forget that back
then the worst happened each time it happened.

What was speaking loud over the figure on
the dash, that was God. Or not God–
something flashing past each roadside
presence: statue after gesturing statue
trying to reverse your belief in imagination

as the opposite of fate. Imagine a speed
at which you could make what was happening
not be true, a speed at which you could bargain
for it: that you, on fire, could be somebody else.

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