From The Baby That Ate Cincinnati. Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2013.
The highway passes through town after town after dark,
populations under each name announcing numbers
like 146, 217, 91, a mush of snow disappearing
against black pavement, you switch your high beams every few
to be polite to the headlights floating your way.
You’re close enough to start watching for motels, you go
to a high school tomorrow morning, 8:05, to talk poetry
though you haven’t been able to put a good metaphor
in motion in months. AM radio fizzes,
you catch some Oklahoma City, some Chicago station
for a few lines before it shifts into buzz. FM rolls
on its own, the numbers keep moving, no place to stop.
The trains all move east tonight, high beams blaring, poetry,
you will tell them, connects worlds,
shows how one thing is so much like another
that we should be ashamed we ever missed it. You listen
to the tires squish and crunch and hum;
looking–headlights dingy with grime, slush smearing
across the windshield–
Poem copyright Matt Mason, used here with permission.