A long day of Beth attending a conference
while I traipsed around the U. Penn campus,

then the drive home: Schuylkill Parkway
terrifying: you have to enter from the left:

merging into traffic an act of faith that nothing
was bearing homicidally down from the passing-only

lane, that drivers in the City of Brotherly Love
weren’t as vicious as the town’s sports fans,

who, the line went, would boo their grandmothers
if they played for the losing home team.

By the time we got on the road, dusk was smudging
the sky pink, then the crimson of fatal car crashes,

then gray, and finally cemetery-black, but all was well,
until our exit in a Baltimore suburb, driving mostly

by automatic pilot by then, maybe half asleep
with my eyes open, so when I made the left-turn off I-695

to the frontage road, I was gape-mouthed-how-the-hell-
did-they-get-there facing the buffalo stampede of traffic,

Beth screaming, me backing up, flinging the wheel
to go with the flow of vehicles, not suicidally against them.

“Sorry,” I muttered, breath slowly returning, Beth stroking
my arm to soothe that home was maybe ten sedate minutes away,

with a needed glass of wine, to toast we were still alive.