Driving All Night
by Ann Howells


Baltimore, city of two million people—
railroad and shipyards, packing houses
and power plants—is a fading horizon.
It stretches narrow toes through dusk
into the inner harbor.

It is my sister’s turn to drive, I sit
mesmerized by headlights—crazed
fireflies that seem to gyre and whorl.
If I miss this turn, she mutters, I’ll end up
in that damn tunnel. I don’t do tunnels!

Opposites still! Her terror of tight places,
enclosure; my panic on bridges, arching
spans that prickle the backs of my knees.
She: hesitant to close a door.
Me: unable to stand on a chair.

Yet, in the plush interior of my car,
strapped each in her own space, we open
tenuously as roses: plump, delicately scented.
In the comforting anonymity of darkness
we proffer old secrets, one petal at a time
revealed, acknowledged, shed.






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