Crossing at Night

by Maryann Corbett
The Waters
Third Place, December 2007
Judged by E. Ethelbert Miller


The rain-slick road
that multiplied
the rush of light.
The striding void,
man-shaped, vague
as something sighed,
suggestive, rogue.
So nearly nothing.
Does even he
believe his own
solidity,
ghosting across
the dark ahead?
Closer. Close.
The grip, the gasping
cry brake skid
the pounding chest
aware, aware
in an emptiness
of something there.


I found this poem haunting in a mystical sense. Since I don't know how to drive, I've never experienced that need to avoid something on a rain-slick road. Still, I like how this poem is almost crafted to resemble a road. Lines seem to collapse on each other. The words "void," "vague," "nothing" and "emptiness" increase the blackness of the night. What is the shape of things unseen? What do we fear at the crossing? --E. Ethelbert Miller

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