I-17, South of Flagstaff, 1995

10 p.m., starry sky, autumn chill,
winds buffet the van like waves on a lifeboat.
Returning from the film about Neruda,
warm inside our craft, filled with poetry
and the sad rhythm of miles. You beside me:

talk of love, of a certain face, of the subtle
slurred sound of Beatrice, of your sister’s first kiss
and when I floated on my back in the pitiless sea.
We know we are editing our words, our thoughts,
our dreams, our lives, and we acknowledge this

and more. And then there’s this: How do we
polish the sacred surfaces, as Neruda writes,
to reveal the dove who is born of light?
How do we, with our hands, make the world every day?
Mile by mile, with a firm grip on the wheel?

Exit 298, adrift in the balmy space of words,
I watch you slip away, your red hair floating on starlight,
into the cool, deep ocean of night.

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Published by

Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner

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