This poem won Third place in the 2014 2-Day Poem Contest
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.
Published online June 30 2014.
This poem was a winner in CV2’s annual 2-Day Poem Contest. Every April, CV2 challenges players to create a new original poem that uses all 10 words of our choosing. It’s poetry under pressure for prizes, publication, and personal bests. Learn how to sign up for the next 2-Day Poem Contest.