"-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Frigg | Fall/Winter 2023/24 | In Transit, On Hold | Jacob Schepers
artwork for Jacob Schepers' poem In Transit, On Hold

In Transit, On Hold
Jacob Schepers

There is, on highways, tacit agreement
that the transit, begrudgingly shared, be

               of little to no consequence to our
               getting there. For the most part, we drive to
               drive, not to make friends or memories or

headlines. There are, however, exceptions,
as there almost always are: when we pass

               the inevitable abandoned car
               on the side of the road, we cannot help
               speculating its story nor stop flickers

of relief that at least the congestion
of traffic has abated, if only

               by one. The suddenness of it all, no
               matter the frequency, is why we fear
               the worst. A car’s front end smashed; carrion

mangled; a child gathering, like a wasted
dandelion, a burned fuse: we can try

               to shake the feeling there is disordered
               supervenience to it all, that perhaps
               had we not just passed by, the accident

would not have been, but really there’s no use.
There is a contingency to all things

               to which we too lay claim. We are holding
               perpetual firecrackers with one
               good hand. We are Ayrshires with swollen udders

sojourning a freeway. We’re the missing
drivers who vanish one limb at a time.

Jacob Schepers’ Comments

This poem is the culmination of a longstanding fascination I’ve held—since I was a kid, even—of the abandoned cars that we pass on highways, the secret lives these vehicles have carried. There’s a fair amount of magical thinking that goes into this mystery, and so it strikes me how sudden the anticipated plans of a routine trip or day or simple errand could so badly go awry. This poem, then, is my way of getting to the heart of these questions and, by extension, how quickly we lucky navigators might suddenly find ourselves out of luck or worse. This isn’t a “count your stars” poem, to be clear, but it does flirt with the idea that each of us—some slowly, some quickly—are disappearing into the storied mysteries of strangers’ imaginations.

Table of Contents

Frigg: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 62 | Fall/Winter 2023/24