Drive

A prose poem by Clyde Liffey


A lattice – what lattice? – of light dappled my dusty windshield, it should have been a poem, it wasn’t a poem, how could it, what could? Drive, she said, but she didn’t care where I went, I went away, alone, towards work. I was of course overstimulated. First there was the coffee, morning’s dehydration. Water flowing south, knots forming in my forehead, mouth already dry I listened to the radio, two stations on the dial, one news, one music, the news station playing its theme, the music DJ recounting
what was played or about to be played, maybe it was vice-versa, hard to tell, I had to squint to keep my eyes on the road, I am the subject (all senses) of all I survey, my right, there are no rights, I digress eyes still half-closed, tearing, not tearing. Squint-eyed she called me, I can’t help it, it’s not so much the lack of sleep, it’s the lack of focus, the need not so much to multitask as to abandon tasks, there’s a living to be made, I’m out here living it, not making it, I was thus distracted when I first saw the black grill of the advancing jeep, felt the familiar urge to collide. Mostly I stay between the lines, viz. the yellow line of the road and the edge of the asphalt bordered too close in spots by trees: they create the false grids. Still I stay within them excepting sidesteps for small animals, mice and the like, the safest way to advance. The jeep hove more completely into view – these winding, hilly, leafy roads, the true highlight of my day! – its close end hovered over my side of the yellow line, my focus shifted, I turned the wheel toward it, recovered just in time to hear its horn blaring over the muted trumpets on the radio, I’m well past it now, a momentary lapse, an evasion of temptation, I’m on my way, someday I may have a true destination, a final goal, round and beautiful, ripe for decay.


Clyde Liffey lives near the water.

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