Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fog at Night

We drove through the fog at night, to Missouri and back, recently. Also, the pouring rain.

It reminded me of this poem, first published in Willow Review.

Fog at Night

In fog, at night, the whole world closes over,
nothing behind in the rear view mirror,
nothing ahead beyond the dome of streetlight mist.

It’s possible to live an entire life
this way, closed in the vehicle of body
behind the gray-draped hospital room curtains of fog.

To drift in and out of awareness
or move in a cushion of fear,
wishing vaguely for two red brake lights to appear ahead.

Those lights could come up
too suddenly, layered in a funhouse of mirrors.
It could be too late to stop.

They could be the devil’s eyes, winking.
The devil might come with his legion of red-eyed angels—
laughing, the tow-truck, screaming, the ambulance.

No use imagining the worst.
In fog, at night, it’s possible to get all the green lights
on the beltway home.

To take the curve gently,
at reduced speed, sometimes lit by headlights
coming up behind, benevolent as guardian angels,

and to believe in such things.


Hannah Stephenson said...

Ah, this is a wonderful poem, and just what I needed today! Beautiful, Kathleen.

The Swamp Lawyer said...

That's really beautiful and thought provoking. As a desert rat, fog was always a rarity for me, so I'm always appreciative of both the reality and the imagery of it

Collagemama said...

Potent poetry Ms. Kathleen, as always. I want to pull off the highway at the first gas station even if the restrooms are dubious, maybe wait a bit sipping coffee from a machine dispenser and a stale Hostess treat. Memories of riding shotgun with my dad driving at night up to the hospital in Norfolk.

Hesitating or doubting.
Not to be relied upon; suspect.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, dears!

At one of the rest stops on our recent travels, at night, we were greeted by a maintenance man. "Lights are out in the Women's restroom," he said, "but there's enough light to see in there." He meant the outdoor streetlights shining in through the glass block windows, and he was right. I felt taken care of.

Carol Berg said...

Gorgeous poem!

Kathleen said...

Thank you!

Peg Kirk said...

Oh yes, I remember this poem. It's a perfect fit to readdress the long drive this February. The guardian angels were out in the fog, not inside protecting your scarf.