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Christopher Apfelbach

Rookie (July 1,1990 / Burlington, VT)


This sleek black Audi
that I am currently driving
can manage 33 miles per gallon—

and to nearly anyone,
it is doing its job correctly,
moving me through the

midnight spaces that stretch
between Kentucky and Illinois
in speed and utter silence.

What occurs to me now, though,
is that I am traveling not only
through darkened fields and towns

but through time as well,
through so many hours and seconds
that it seems like an oversight

not to include in the owner's manual
precisely how much time it gets
to the gallon, how many yawns

and tracks from Sketches of Spain
this half tank could carry me through.
And from that vantage point—

the perspective of infinity—
we are all plowing through time
with relentless abandon,

in bed as we read, the lamplight
falling on our timeswept hair,
or else in a sudden embrace,

each momentary scent
of citrus and jasmine signaling
another step toward eternity.

The thoughts pursue me down
several minutes of blank road,
where the winking yellow strip

seems to mark some division—
but a shy swath of stars hangs
over the darkness of America,

as bright and ageless as any of us
could hope to be. A sign proclaims
Bloomington,148 miles, and so,

deciding I enjoy navigating time
rather more than covering ground,
I ease off the accelerator in the

orange light of the dashboard,
never quite presuming to know
what moment this road leads to.

Submitted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
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