White Cross

Both hands are on the wheel,

one foot putting pressure on the miles

to go by faster.

 

The face in the rear view mirror

looks like it’s moving toward the last half of its life,

fine comets colliding with the outer corners of my eyes.

 

The green highway signs come slowly into view

until the letters are clear,

destinations that belong to others.

 

Measured by time and distance I’ve come halfway.

Still, the miles ahead feel like homework

I would have once put off for another day.

 

Up ahead, a curve.

Sudden.  Steep.

A white cross blooms above the hem of weeds,

 

erect as a sentry would stand—

its sullen duty to guard, honor,

Remind.

 

I imagine the driver must have made a wrong turn

at some important crossroad,

a fast left instead of a hard right.

 

I’m sure she (it must have been a she)

had both hands on the wheel

when the cell phone rang.

 

Halfway into the curve she put on the brake,

yielded to the apology

as it crashed into her ear.

 

Exits approach,

blur in my periphery

like second chances I’ve decided not to take.

 

Billboards erupt, apathetic,

promising low rates for self storage,

the best care for my heart disease.

 

For a reasonable price

I could have precision tires that grip the road,

hold on tight—

 

a few of the things

I’m starting to believe

I just can’t live without.

 

 

 

DeMaris Gaunt, 2009

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