Returning Home

This poem won Third place in 2-Day Poem Contest 2014

The air is like a June night and you’ve left the city behind for stars

and you’re driving the old beater as if through a movie you remember 

until you arrive at the last great downhill sweep 

of the two-lane blacktop before the Randel’s Ferry Bridge. 


You assume that bridge will still be there. That’s a putative hope. 

The myriad of timbres whine and shimmy in the bailing wire

caressing and containing the ancient Mercury. 

Probably the versions he remembers are true as they need to be.


Such bawdiness, think of the Schubert. If I change 

the name of the dead for your pleasure I trust I will not offend.

Here is the curious part, not what you expect, the Harp Sonata,

or some ritual sawing away in the string section, instead piano! 


In the mountains stars dawdled overhead, unlocked a few answers.

Spring opened some hasps for the lucky upturned faces.  

You’ve seen this on the 3 AM movies, so when Mr. Death says, 

Tag isn’t a game for him, but a livelihood, a way to make ends meet, 


that would be a fine time to go downstairs and make yourself a cheese sandwich.

I had been meaning to ask you about surrealism before we got so deep

into this poem, he said. Hanging Romulus and Remus from the wolf teats 

like Christmas ornaments from the pagan times. 


This was the cramp when you need to run, the dream 

where your legs no longer know the demarcation between life and death. 

We were coming to the corner by the bridge I told you about. 

Your two fists on the big beefy wheel of this American barge leaning, 


careening into the corner like the first time you felt engaged, married, 

one with your body and its basic services. And now you and the car 

are just now briefly connected in a similar way, after a booster of rum 

from the glove box, so the sky’s the limit. Ahead tall pylons appear from fog.