No Such Thing As Time
Isaac imagined time as a river flowing.
Albert, as a single four-dimensional entity.
I lie awake in a 56-year-old insomniac body
under a thick quilt
still in my 13-year-old body
spine against shingles of my childhood home
facing the stars.
Somewhere inside, parent’s voices murmur
indistinct but comforting
as they may have sounded
from the womb.
Till my sister returns
eyes red, pupils strange in the light.
With her arrives yelling, door slamming,
and inevitably, Jim Morrison turned full blast
singing of a boy who woke before dawn
to slaughter each member of his family.
Jim Morrison screams
Stars tumble from the night’s dark basket,
scatter across the roof, pierce my skin.
I can’t help but breathe them in
as I lie awake next to my husband
blinking back shards.
East 55th and Broadway
I lift my foot from the brake as lights turn green
when a truck speeds through the intersection,
heaves into an old wood-sided station wagon.
The car lifts and twirls in front of me,
glass sparkling slow as silence
slow as a day shattering.
It lands back on its wheels,
bounces like a vehicular gymnast.
I sit, stunned, still hearing metal cry.
Several heartbeats, then people rush
into the street from sidewalks and stores,
wrench open the door,
lean in to the driver.
A gray-haired woman
wearing a vest full of pockets
springs out, rushes to
rail at the truck driver
who is bent
by shame or pain.
Two women at a bus stop hug each other,
men in greasy shirts stand outside a repair shop,
children stare from an idling school bus.
A siren’s cry empties the silence.
Traffic wakes, moves.
I don’t know what to do
as if sprinkled with sand,
sky sparkling as if
scrubbed and polished.
Fog As Visible Dreams
Mysteries flicker under each tender eyelid.
Become mist. Pass through walls.
Crowd the street, stories in symbol
lingering over a neighborhood asleep.
Houses and mailboxes
move toward my headlights,
ghosts stepping into form.
I see each thing clearly
only as it passes by.
Moonlight leaks through the curtains.
I lie awake, listen to coyote songs
circle and connect, stitching together
the night’s raw edges.
Each time I hear their howls
my bone marrow sings.
What’s muzzled in me lifts.
I seem silent and still,
yet my pulse races through the trees.
Why Bottles Litter Interstate Hillsides
On a steep slope behind a wire fence
meant to keep deer off the road,
suburban boys gather. Each brings
microbrews found in upscale fridges
or energy drinks sloshed with vodka.
They lean away from the ground’s tilt.
Drink, brag, smoke, jeer, jostle for position.
The highway courses endlessly below them,
overpasses and underpasses heading six directions,
every vehicle steering away.
Traffic noise fills the night, fills their bodies,
amps up a signature restlessness.
In earlier eras, boys their age claimed
homesteads, climbed ship rigging,
set type, shaped glass, forged iron.
Instead they’re here on this cold night.
Words steam and fade
into exhaust-heavy air.
Every day in every boy’s memory,
they’ve been graded on doing
a backpackful of nothing.
Here they snap saplings, toss bottles,
sometimes hoist the drunkest kid
halfway over the fence. They’re told
you’ve got your whole life ahead of you
but wonder, unspoken, how they’ll ever
merge onto lanes taking them there.
Laura Grace Weldon is the author of three books, most recently the poetry collection Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019), the strength of which led her to being named Ohio Poet of the Year 2019-2020. Laura works as a book editor, teaches writing workshops, and maxes out her library card each week. lauragraceweldon.com