Used to think myself Geppetto
in the mouth of the whale,
salt-white stripes painted
along the half-lit path
of yellow lights.
Twenty-five years old now
and still, I watch
for the way the world shifts
to black and white
when I’m halfway swallowed,
halfway to the day.
Rolled my window down
after dark, after church,
and I could still hear
my voice—
my mother’s and my sister’s, too—
eighteen years from the past
as we yelled
to the southbound side.