portion of the artwork for Kelly Luce's poetry

Another Night Drive
Kelly Luce

I’m winding into Highway 9 at night
coming up on Apple Jack’s, the only neon in these redwoods

Two figures slouched at the bar
backs to a pool table,

Pale blue streetlamp on the right,
then it’s back to darkness.

Paul Simon is singing about a chip in time
It’s one of those numbers
with a beat you could pick up, watch it kick,
then set down and it’d roll
all the way across the Pacific.

And I can’t tell
if the road is a vacuum,
pulling me ahead,
or if it’s just the music
propelling me forward.
All I know is that I can’t take credit for the motion,
I’m along for the ride,
a passenger in my body,
a South African sangoma channeling
her all-knowing ancestor.
She speaks in an obtuse language of dreams
that I record only crudely
upon waking.

~

Sometimes my car
going too fast around a curve
is the only place I feel safe.
Windows up. Top down.
The sky winks its approval.

There is something I’m supposed to see,
or maybe I’ve just always felt this way—
on the verge of discovery.

Drums seep into the creased leather seats
bound up the dashboard,
stream over the windshield,
and leave a humming trail of fading tail lights.

On those dark hill roads,
warm nights mean shooting stars.

Headlights bounce off the pavement,
a camera freezing creatures in flight.
But don’t be fooled—
Bats, moths, even wayward leaves play that game.

When the genuine article appears,
it’s unmistakable,
hot ink slipping across the blackness.

~

It’s crazy:
Sliced open, the sky never scars
but show me a meteor and I’ll jump
every time

and sometimes I make a sound
that’s a little too loud, for me.

It can be heard even over the radio,
a beat I couldn’t stop with a bulldozer

as I begin to sing,
wondering

how the absence of anything
can weigh so much.



(First appeared in Colorado Review)

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 39 | Winter 2013