clings at dawn to a low, sunken field
like bunched gray cotton, its frayed edges
burning away as the sun raises
its hot iron, searing
almost white the crowns of trees.
You have passed this field
through pleats of time–in the rush
of your commutes to work,
to flower-filled weddings entirely wrong
or maroon-dark funerals entirely right,
to see the oak leaves of your children
pressed in wax paper on windows, greeting you.
You pace the highway
whose twists you learned.
The fog becomes memory of fog
as you calculate the time
it takes to dissipate fast as an old regret
swiped by the news on the radio.
I am not afraid to admit
I was in it once,
not exactly lost
but in fear of being lost
at certain bends where the fog breached
the guardrail, and dark blue pines
shrouded in dew
pressed the shoulders of the asphalt road
turning crystalline in sun,
needles sparkling like the tips of syringes
beaded with drops of toxin.
I coasted down
an elliptic curve graced
with a border of arrowed, brighter spruce,
whose branches swung out
like the hems of ballerinas as they curtsied
in tension, quivering,
until further in the valley
the spruce were taken hostage by the fog
in costumes of white smoke,
ghosts of themselves, hollow-voiced,
apostles in exile.
I held to the white neon dashes of the road,
gripped by the straightaways’ flashes
of signposts–yield, curve,
falling rock. All I could feel
were the corridors of fir and cedar
cooling giant droplets on the windows,
pinecone clusters dragging
along the wet glass
as I shifted down for my safety–
I was driving inside someone’s thick breath.
No choice but to go slow,
that invited descent, striations of schist
like petrified silver waterfalls
down ravines that can cut the skin.
I had to stop, lie down
at the nadir in a field of moss
and breathe through
the lung of fog above me.
I was in love.