Ark Drives Into the Night
A big rig is coming up fast. Its lights
go from far to closer to close. Barely
keeping it between the white lines, Ark welcomes
distraction. One hundred miles—maybe less—but
one hundred is a good number and when
more turns out to be less, then less is better,
a boost. State line sign, then gone. The big rig
that was riding his donkey faded off on
the hill climb. Lights in the distance: York.
Then Camp Hill. Might go East Shore all the way
in daylight, but too many hills and curves, woods,
and deer for nighttime. Instead Ark takes the low
river road with nothing much for sixty
miles, but porn shops, cheap motels, and truck stops.
Sixty miles, fifty-nine, fifty-eight.
Radio has country, preacher preaching, preaching,
country, pop, pop, preaching, pop, country. The moon
mirrors on the river, the water low
and flat as the road. Thirty-seven.
Thirty-four. A few more miles of darkness.
Jerry Wemple, a Pennsylvania native, writes frequently about the people and places of the Susquehanna Valley. His work includes three poetry collections: You Can See It from Here, selected by Pulitzer Prize-winner Yusef Komunyakaa for the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award; The Civil War in Baltimore; and most recently The Artemas Poems. His poetry and creative nonfiction are included in several journals and anthologies. He is a Professor of English at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. (jerrywemple.com)