By H. Russell Smith
Another world, another time All too familiar to none Except those, like me, Who found a box on a bottom shelf In an empty, dusty, antique shop Resting along Main Street, Heaving for breath in a wheezing, unremarkable town Just like a thousand others Scattered along old state highways. Back then, I drove to find myself Accompanied by the stars, AM radio fading along the tree line. I was alone. Always alone. The young go searching for each other And find themselves in cars, alone. Wishing, praying for it to be different, Counting orange cones and mile markers. Searching. Night. The catharsis of enveloping darkness. I drive now mostly for necessity, often for work. Occasionally to remind myself for what I still seek: to feel alive. Still alone. Sun falling from the sky In drippy streaks and fuzzy glare Gentle crackling of the radio Mind on autopilot Thinking of a desolate, familiar floor Covered in the contents of a battered cardboard container. I did my best to recognize them. I couldn't. Not now, not then. Maybe once, but never again. The lighting is too dim. That is how memories fade away Into different exits on unknown Interstates Blinkers. Right-hand lane. Exit. Slip away into the night. Alone. Still searching.
Listening to Crickets
Where the lights are, You'll never find me I've switched off the power To soak up the silent dark. Cricket sings: All alone, all along! Let breezes rattle and creak Loosely fixed shutters We chirp They chant and drone Into the night, last night Tomorrow's eve Finds a lamp filled with oil We offer a single, flickering flame To those who cannot weather The still, humid hours Carry our voices To the sad summer people And their dogs, barking, weary of slumber La, la, la, and other useless phrases To you, Sister Moon We bow our heads upon bended knee Bless us with your silver and shadow We know your radiant glory!