Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Interstate VII: North Carolina, I-77 South

Driving a darkened highway, deserted
though before midnight, only the broken
lines, jumping into the headlamps’ halo,
as if on a dare, and sprinting past,
regularly relieve a landscape
painted too heavily in shades of black.
Save for the distant red wink of brake lights,
those ravenous eyes leering from trucks whose
drivers incessantly chat on radios
with others whom they have never met,
and lit billboards, stars on this minor stage,
no sign of life joyously greets weary eyes.
Silence sits in the cabin, reaching its
tendrils out to drown even the tires' flap
and whine against the asphalt—friction
now palpable—and despair lurks beyond
the extent of headlights' reaching vision.

Then, on the horizon past the bulldozed
valley's wall, a bubble of light rises
in the liquid night, shooting its brilliance
against the highway’s desolate black stripe.
A sphere of light and life emanating from
human activity—perhaps a late
little league baseball game with children
happy only to stand on the greening
field in the glow of the lamps,
way past their bedtime, and parents attend
to every action—all bathed in the glow
of artificial sun's noon in new moon's
onyx blanket that smothers all other
sight, even the headlights that no longer
blindingly glare off of sign's reflective tape.

Though this stretch of highway be deserted,
that globe of light shines on in the rearview
sending beams of warmth bouncing through a car's
cockpit, lightening the omnipresent
dimness and a heart that will move forward
with the sound of that glee to heaven
rising high just minutes away: only
a chosen exit and a short mile's drive.

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