Life and Death on the Highway
Driving home in the later hours
Of a warm midsummer evening,
Along an Ohio highway at
Sunset, and through the succeeding hours,
As dusk turns to dark, and dark to night,
And the night is thinly peopled with
Small distant lights, motes of life spread out
Across the darkened farmland, a car
Travels along, its headlights making
Two bright cones which fly through the stillness.

Like two glowing eyes the two cones pass on,
Creating a tunnel of vision,
Always in motion, the road empty
Save for the rare flash of passing
Headlights, far and near:
An approaching white glare,
A receding red glow,
And all is quiet once more save the hum
Of the car's motor and the gentle
Buffet of warm, moist air gliding by.

No, not entirely silent,
For also there is the steady
Noise, suspended a few inches
Before the driver's face,
The sound of small things,
Things like fine droplets,
Things like grains of sand,
Pelting the windshield
As an invisible mist.

But it is not mist, nor water in
Any form, nor dust, nor sand, nor
Any other inert matter, but
Life itself in myriad tiny forms,
Flying freely through the warm summer
Air, in pursuit of life's many and
Necessary tasks, a busy swarm
Yet orderly after its fashion,
Until it becomes a collected
Indecipherable smear opon
The face of the car, obscuring the
Driver's vision by degrees, but
Leaving little other mark upon
The World.

Coda:

Inside the driver drives on, past the
Signs for Fostoria and Upper
Sandusky, Delaware, Marion
And Bucyrus, Wado and Vanlue,
As sleeping passengers restore the
Energy spent on a busy summer's day,
And the driver drives onward, keeping a steady course,
Humming along to music on the radio,
Oblivious to the mayhem on the glass before him.

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© 1997 Stephen L. Spanoudis, all rights reserved worldwide