What if you got into your car,
Turned off the stereo,
And just kept driving—
Like the spark in your skull
That crawled into its neuron Studebaker years ago,
Hit the on-ramp, and never looked back?
The smooth, broad hiss of asphalt
Carries you over the road
As the sun rises in the rear-view,
Sets over the dash.
On an empty highway,
Buildings blossom ahead and vanish behind.
A playground bathed in pastel paints
Where a girl with a voice tries to teach a boy to sing.
A high school with a fault line in its wall
Where hollow kisses ride full lips.
A parking lot where the head—
Not the hand—finds love.
A cobbled walk melting
Under the Georgia sun and street jazz,
Where trembling fingers reach for a switch
To cut off glittering hazel eyes
Deserving, not wanting, an answer.
The switch takes out the lights.
The sun disappears,
The moon quits,
The stars leave without a proper goodbye
Or even a strained “Talk to you later.”
The horizon hides far beyond
The stunted reach of your headlights.
You count the stripes in the road,
Hear the dull roar of the asphalt again,
And barely see the edge of the grass
On either side of the road.
There might be buildings and people.
There might not be.
A corrugated shed ends the road.
Your brakes don’t squeal—
They only sigh when your head strikes the steering wheel.
The engine stutters through its last drop of gas,
The battery slips out with a whimper.
The slam of the door stops at your ears.
The empty air stands close,
Follows you inside.
Rusted bits sting your hands
And blood creeps down your wrists
As your aching fingers fret and fumble
For a light switch.