another poem for the pandemicon

Red Shift

The light never turns green.
A deer jumps into the middle of the road.
The road divides ahead, the streetsigns
are handwritten and houses stand far from the sidewalk.
The radio coughs static. The heat works.
There’s always the chance we’re very, very lost.
That cop signals and suggests we might call it a night
“Let’s move things along, move along now,”
but the light must be broken or it might
be stuck on stop for a real-time reason.

The air ignites before the next right. The pulse
crashes the system, turns today’s date deathless.
The earth swallows us up. In the shelters,
people talk about what they would change if they could.
The city shuts off to expose the stars
which never seem to move when they’re moving.
Nothing is spelled out too clearly but
the poles speak in spheres, dilated, disagreed.
Read out loud, they say: the apartments will come apart,
the sea will choose our shoes.

Why don’t you always know what I never knew?
Why won’t you wake up? It’s time to go,
and so on.
But then the light changes
and you drop me off at home.

Later,
you called to talk about
nothing really.

(I’ve been re-composing some past poems, this one wanted attention. For intended scansion, please view in landscape.)

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